F v The Queen

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F v R (1984) 33 SASR 189 is a tort law case. It is a seminal case on what information medical professionals have a duty to inform patients of at common law.

It pre-dates the decision in Rogers v Whitaker which substantially followed F v R by departing from the Bolam test at common law in regards to the duty of medical professionals to disclose risks to a patient.

Facts[edit]

A woman went to her gynaecologist and asked to be sterilised by Tubal ligation. The doctor did not warn the woman that there was a less than 1% chance that she would fall pregnant after the operation. The woman had the procedure, but then a process known as recanalisation occurred and she fell pregnant. She then sued her gynaecologist for negligence. [1]

Judgment[edit]

Chief Justice King said,

"In many cases an approved professional practice as to disclosure will be decisive. But professions may adopt unreasonable practices. Practices may develop in professions, particularly as to disclosure, not because they serve the interests of the clients, but because they protect the interests or convenience of members of the profession. The court has an obligation to scrutinize professional practices to ensure that they accord with the standard of reasonableness imposed by the law. A practice as to disclosure approved and adopted by a profession or section of it may be in many cases the determining consideration as to what is reasonable. On the facts of a particular case the answer to the question whether the defendant’s conduct conformed to approved professional practice may decide the issue of negligence, and the test has been posed in such terms in a number of cases. The ultimate question, however, is not whether the defendant’s conduct accords with the practices of his profession or some part of it, but whether it conforms to the standard of reasonable care demanded by the law. That is a question for the court and the duty of deciding it cannot be delegated to any profession or group in the community."

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ F v R — (1983) 33 SASR 189 SASC