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Barnett v Chelsea & Kensington Hospital

May 31, 2024 | By Wilson Kehoe Winingham staff

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.

Medical Negligence in Barnett v Chelsea Case

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 hospital staff sent Barnett home when he needed immediate medical treatment
  • The hospital did not perform accurate assessment of Barnett and did not have him seen by a doctor

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?

Contact a Medical Malpractice Attorney Today

Medical negligence cases are inherently complex due to the intricate nature of healthcare practices and the need to establish a breach of standard care. A lawyer specializing in medical malpractice can navigate the complexities of such cases, leveraging their expertise to gather evidence, consult with medical experts, and advocate for fair compensation, ensuring justice for those who have suffered from medical negligence.

If you have been harmed or suffered injury due to medical negligence, contact the Indianapolis attorneys at Wilson Kehoe Winingham. Our medical malpractice lawyers have extensive experience to assist you in legal representation. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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