Clinical negligence
in Medicine, patients and the law (sixth edition)
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The law of negligence provides compensation to individuals injured as a result of another person’s negligence. Gross negligence resulting in death may be punished by the criminal courts. Both issues are covered in detail in this chapter. We consider the three factors that must be demonstrated for a patient to establish negligence: duty, breach and causation. We chart relevant case law including the famous decisions of Bolam and Bolitho. Wilful neglect of a mentally ill or mentally incapacitated patient has long been a crime. Sections 20-25 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 extends the offence of ill treatment or wilful neglect to cover such conduct by all paid care workers, which includes doctors and nurses. We discuss a number of pending prosecutions under the Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act 2007.

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