First Negligence Case In The Modern Era

The first-ever case that occurred in modern regarding medical negligence and derived attention of everyone towards it was of Bolam Steering Committee vs Free Hospital. The case has been brought to court by a celebrity Bolam, and he claimed that negligence by the doctor caused a fracture in his bone.


The fact is that the respondent is an organization that hired a doctor. But he did not give his Patients with mental illness (applicant) or fixed muscle relaxants before the appointment for electroconvulsive therapy. As a result, the plaintiff got injured in this trial, and the plaintiff sued the defendant because the doctor neglected to keep them or give them medication.


An illegal act is to determine that the defendant violated the duty of care to the plaintiff. To prove non-compliance, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant did not act like a reasonable person in his position. For professionals, the standard is higher: they must act as responsible professionals. In this case, the possible question is how to evaluate the standard of care imposed on the patient. Professional defendants, a large part of them oppose certain practices, while others do not.


The Supreme Court ruled: The doctor did not violate his duties to the patient, and the defendant did not bear any responsibility for this.McNair J. developed a test to determine the standard of care that a healthcare provider should provide to patients (sometimes called the Bolam test). If a professional takes action, he will not violate his duty of care. According to the approach, the competent authority may adopt other healthcare professionals who have experience in that particular field. Once established, it does not matter that other experienced people disagree with this approach.

The case proved to be a landmark in the area of medicine or medical negligence. And doctors were held accountable.

Medical negligence (history)

The term medical negligence was initially used in ancient Mesopotamia, and it was present in the code of Hammurabi, which was an extensive legal document of this ancient civilization.

According to Hammurabi: 

If the doctor has treated a man with a lancet of bronze and has resulted in the man to die or has opened an abscess of the eye for a gentleman with a bronze lancet and has led to the loss of the vision of a gentleman. then his hands should be cut off. (Smith 1931 as cited within Ball 2009).

Volenti nonfit injuria is a tort law defence in which the person who has committed a wrong is excused from blame because the victim of such a wrong provides his agreement to the commission of such act is free for this defence to be effective in a case. This is because the penalties in the modern world are so much civilized. The ancient Romans also had a legal basis for enacting medical abuse laws. His first written law, the Twelfth Table, includes Delix, Inurisa, and Damnum Iniuria Datum.

Delix is a type of punishment-related offence. Suriya Dates and Inuriya Dynamo are two types of forgetfulness. Suriya refers to the attack, and the damn Inuriya data refers to the property damage that slaves have participated in. Iniuria is only intentional injuries. A person usually does not have to pay for the monetary costs of the damage and the mental or physical suffering caused by it. Damnum Inuria data also covers damage caused by negligence error of medical physician, but only covers compulsory compensation for economic losses caused by property damage. For example, if someone needs medical care due to negligent actions of someone else. They may demand payment through Datum Inuria Data. Over time, the law expanded to include free men rather than slaves.

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