Standards of Care and Medical Negligence
This chapter looks at the exceptional cases where something seems wrong between patients and clinicians. Few professions routinely face the risk of causing so much damage to those they serve, sometimes as a result of the smallest oversight made under pressure. Also, medicine offers limited guarantees and treatment that offers considerable benefit may also carry unavoidable risks, some of which may be catastrophic. Patients have to decide whether the small possibility of risk is justified by the larger probability of benefit. Doctors may cause damage to their patients, therefore, without in any way behaving carelessly. With these caveats in mind, this chapter discusses the impact of medical negligence in the NHS, the liability of the clinician, and patients' rights of informed consent to medical care.
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