In the case of Caparo v Dickman4it was held that in order for a duty of care to exist, the situation should be such that the Court considers it fair and just and reasonable for the law to impose such a duty.
In the case of Hedley Bryne v Heller5, the Court held that the duty of care would apply even in the case of giving information when the plaintiff relies on the defendant’s skill and knowledge. Hence this case is especially relevant in the case of professionals, where a duty of care is expected on the basis of their professional abilities. This would also apply in the case of Dr. Green and since Charles was his patient, the condition for a relationship of proximity would also exist, therefore the Courts may well consider that a duty of care is owed by Dr. Green which may have been breached.
A duty of care is owed by doctors to their patients, and negligence may be established even in cases where there is an omission. For example, in the case of Blyth v, Birmingham Waterworks6 negligence was equated to an omission to do something which a reasonable man would have done. On this basis, it may be argued that Dr. Green’s failure to thoroughly check Charles’ condition when he came to be treated initially could constitute an omission. In medical cases, the standard that has generally been applied in testing whether a doctor has breached the duty of care has been laid out in the case of Bolam v Friern Hospital Committee7. This case is especially relevant in the context of those situations where care has already been provided, as is the case with Dr. Green.
According to the Bolam test, a doctor will not be in breach of his duty of care if he has acted in a manner that is supported by a majority of medical opinion on the basis of what is in the best interests of the patient. The question that arises is whether the majority of medical opinion would have supported Dr. Green’s assessment, .diagnosis, and care for Charles. .