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BOLITHO v. CITY AND HACKNEY HEALTH AUTHORITY

(1997) JELR 91516 (HL)

House of Lords  •  13 Nov 1997  •  Nigeria

Coram
LORD BROWNE-WILKINSON. LORD SLYNN OF HADLEY. LORD NOLAN. LORD CLYDE

Judgement






LORD BROWNE-WILKINSON My Lords, This appeal raises two questions relating to liability for medical negligence. The first, which I believe to be more apparent than real, relates to the proof of causation when the negligent act is one of omission. The second concerns the approach to professional negligence laid down in Bolam v. Friern Hospital Management Committee [1957] 1 W.L.R.

583. The claim relates to treatment received by Patrick Nigel Bolitho at St. Bartholomew's Hospital on 16 and 17 January 1984 when he was two years old. Patrick suffered catastrophic brain damage as a result of cardiac arrest induced by respiratory failure. The issues investigated at trial were wide ranging but as a result of the judge's findings I can state the relevant facts quite shortly. On 11 January 1984 Patrick was admitted to St. Bartholomew's suffering from croup and was treated under the care of the senior paediatric registrar, Dr. Janet Horn, and the senior house officer in paediatrics, Dr. Keri Rodge…

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