The tort of negligence and patient safety
The tort of negligence is critical to the law’s approach to ensuring and enhancing patient safety. This chapter considers the use of negligence in the protection of patient safety. First, it examines the tort of negligence itself by considering the function of negligence law and what constitutes the tort of negligence. Thus duty, breach and causation shall be outlined, and some elements engaged with critically. The Bolam test and its effects (particularly in the context of Bolitho ) shall be analysed, as well as some issues relating to causation, such as ‘loss of a chance of recovery’. The law shall be analysed in terms of its substantive content, and this analysis will include the general philosophy of the courts’ decisions. In this context, then, cases such as Chester v. Afshar , which is symbolic of the courts’ present attitude and perhaps an indicator of future judicial thinking, shall also be examined.