A Brief History Of Medical Negligence

In the last two centuries, there has been little protection in law for patients who suffered at the hands of negligent medical practitioners. In the early days of medicine, patients paid doctors for individual treatments, many of which were ineffectual. It was only with the establishment of a professional body, in the 19th Century, that the position of doctors became more respected. As surgical techniques improved, and drug treatment became more effective, the reputation of the profession rocketed. The long training needed to become a doctor, and the responsibility the job entails, means that the doctors are one of the most highly paid, and respected professions in society.

The Bolam Test

Doctors, of course, are human and therefore they do make mistakes from time to time. There were few early cases brought against doctors, however, and it was only with the closer alliance between the state and the medical profession, with the introduction of the National Health Service, that the issue of medical negligence in law has made the news. The legal test used to establish whether a doctor has breached its duty of care to a patient, is known as the ‘Bolam Test’, after a case brought by a psychiatric patient in 1957. The unfortunate Mr Bolam suffered a number of injuries during the course of ECT treatment at a psychiatric facility, and tried to bring a case against his doctor for the damage he sustained. His case failed, as the Court deemed that his doctors had not been negligent. They said that, although his injuries had been caused by the treatment, other responsible doctors would have judged it was the correct therapy to prescribe, and therefore it was not a negligent act. In effect, doctors were given the power to govern the outcome of medical negligence cases. It was not until the 1980’s that the balance of power began to shift back towards the patient.

Today we have more awareness of our rights, as patients. Human rights, patients’ rights and ethical arguments mean that instances of medical negligence are easier to prosecute now than ever in the past. Despite this, it is a complex area of law, and one that requires medical law experts. If you think you have a case against a medical practitioner, it is essential that you approach a firm like AAH, who have professional teams who specialise in medical negligence compensation law.

Dealing with your claim

If you approach us to deal with a case of medical negligence, we will gather evidence to back up your case on your behalf. Once we have your notes, we will put together a strong case, in order to help you win compensation. We have many years experience in this complex area of law, and a great track record. We operate on a no win, no fee’ basis, so you will have the advantage of our expertise with no financial risk to yourself. If you have been left with life-changing injuries due to a failure of care, it is essential that you make provision for the future. You cannot leave it to chance. Ring our experts for a chat about your case, and we will give you an opinion right away. Call us on 0800 180 4123 from a landline, or 0333 500 0992 from your mobile. Or calculate compensation for medical negligence.

Leave a Reply