Updated October 22, 2020
When a doctor or medical professional presents themselves as competent in their abilities, their patients expect proper care from them. Barnett v Chelsea & Kensington Hospital is an English tort law based on causation in medical negligence. In this case specifically, it is stated that it is up to the claimant to prove their loss or injury is a direct result of the defendant.
In Barnett v Chelsea & Kensington Hospital Committee, the claimant died of poisoning after being sent home from the Emergency Department of Kensington Hospital without care. Medical negligence was presented in the Barnett v Chelsea & Kensington Hospital case for the following reasons:
The claimant argued that even though Mr. Barnett would have died even if care was administered, he still was owed medical attention that follows the medical standard of care.
The court ruled that the hospital was not liable for the death of Mr. Barnett. The basis of this argument was that even if Mr. Barnett had received care in the emergency room that morning, it would not have saved his life.
Barnett v Chelsea introduced the “but-for” test. The “but-for” test is now commonly used in tort law and criminal law to determine causation. This test determines if Y would have occurred if it wasn’t for the existence of X. In this case, was Mr. Barnett’s death from to arsenic poisoning a result of the hospital’s failure to administer medical care?
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