Medical Duty of Care to a third party?
Two recent decisions have explored the extent to which a hospital’s duty of care should be extended to third parties.
In Darnley v Croydon Health Services 2017, the Court of Appeal upheld the Trial Judge’s finding that a hospital’s A&E receptionist did not owe a duty of care to a patient where incorrect information had been provided.
In ABC v St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust 2015, the Court of Appeal has overruled striking out a claim on whether a duty was owed by the hospital to the patient’s daughter to warn her of her father’s genetic disease of Huntington’s disease whereby there is a 50% chance of passing it on to his children. He had refused to give the hospital permission to disclose this information but by chance his daughter discovered she had the condition and now claims she would have terminated her pregnancy. The argument yet to be determined by the Appeal Court is whether it is fair, just and reasonable to impose on the hospital a duty of care towards the daughter on the facts alleged. The Court has decided that the claimant’s case is properly arguable and allowed the appeal to proceed to trial.