tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)TOA PAYOH VETS
toapayohvets.com

Date:   25 April, 2011  
Focus: Small animals - dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs & rabbits
 
Medical negligence 
Dr Sing Kong Yuen, BVMS (Glasgow), MRCVS
Date:   25 April, 2011  
toapayohvets.com 
Be Kind To Pets
Veterinary Education
Project 2010-0129
I just read a Straits Times Apr 22, 2011 "Brain-damaged toddler: Hospital, parents settle suit". No liability admitted, court will now assess damages payable.

It was a medical negligence suit against the doctors of Kandang Kerbau Hospital. The plaintiffs were the parents of a toddler who is brained damaged when the the position of the endotracheal tube was displaced while the doctors were moving it. The endotracheal tube brings oxygen from the machine to the lungs. By shifting the position of the endotracheal tube, the oxygen was not delivered to the toddler. The toddler suffered brain damage and is not normal. 

Was there medical negligence? Was there a lack of care by the doctors?


I refer to my real estate REA notes to pass my examinations in late May, some 6 weeks later by reviewing this real case.

1. WAS THERE MEDICAL NEGLIGENCE IN THIS CASE?

LAW OF TORT - NEGLIGENCE

I am not a lawyer and this is my own opinion of the case:

To succeed in an action for negligence, the plaintiff must show that:
1) the defendant owes him a duty of care - YES
2) the defendant has beached that duty of care - NOT ADMITTED BY THE DEFENDANT
3) his breach causes damage/loss to the plaintiff - YES. THE TODDLER IS BRAIN DAMAGED.
4) the damage/loss is not too remote (not controllable, not foreseeable, not an expert on a particular subject matter) - THE DOCTOR IS A TOP EXPERT IN CARDIO-RESPIRATORY FIELD, ACCORDING TO THE DEFENDANT

2. WAS THERE A LACK OF CARE?

LAW OF TORT - DUTY OF CARE - TEST
Duty of Care - "But For" Test
A test of duty of care is: "You must take reasonable care to avoid acts and omissions that you can reasonably foresee, would be likely to injure your neighbour"

In tort law, a duty of care is a legal obligation requiring an individual to conform to a standard of reasonable care while performing any act that could foreseeably harm others. It is the first element that must be established to continue with an action in NEGLIGENCE. The plaintiff must show that a duty of care imposed by law (common law usually) has been breached by the defendant.


LAW OF TORT - DUTY OF CARE - BREACH
Standard of Care - Breach.


More important in professions requiring special skill or expertise, the person must exercise a reasonable standard of care that must be measured.

The standard of care is measured by the "reasonable man" test:
Whether the defendant's conduct fall below the standard of care which is expected of the reasonable man.


CONCLUSION

The cause of damage is established by the "but for" test:
The court will ask - would the plaintiff (patient, buyer, tenant, owner) has suffered the injury but for the defendant's (doctor's, agent's) negligence?

The Kandang Kerbau Hospital settled out of court (High Court's claim for damages must be above $250,000) without admitting liability and this was accepted by the parents. The court will assess the damages.

P.S
The above incident reminds me of one case some 30 years ago. A vet spayed a dog. The dog became comatose during surgery, according to the operating vet who was not in private practice at that time.

The owner (a leading flight stewardess) was asked to take the dog home as the vet could not do anymore. I saw the dog. It was paddling and not able to live normally. So, was this a case of deprivation of oxygen during the spay or some reactions? I don't know. Many complications can occur during anaesthesia, in medicine and surgery and
the only advice I can give is that one must not be complacent.

For readers who don't know what I mean, an endotracheal tube I used at Toa Payoh Vets for dog anaesthesia is shown left. It brings oxygen and isoflurane gas from the machine to the dog's lungs to permit surgery without pain. An endotracheal tube can also brings just oxygen to a person or animal with respiratory distress (panting non-stop and becoming blue).   

Advertisement

Marina Bay Residences condo, singapore, asiahomes, above 40th floor

Asia USA Realty (Singapore)
asiahomes.com Pte Ltd  

VARIOUS UNITS ARE FOR RENT AT VARIOUS TIMES:
Tel: +65 9668 6468, Email: judy@asiahomes.com
Asia USA Realty

shih tzu, deep corneal ulcer, ulcerative keratitis, tarsorrhaphy, toapayohvets singaporeMore info at: Dogs or Cats
To make an appointment:
e-mail judy@toapayohvets.com
tel: +65 9668-6469, 6254-3326

toapayohvets.com 
Be Kind To Pets
Veterinary Education
Project 2010-0129
tpvets_logo.jpg (2726 bytes)Toa Payoh Vets
Clinical Research
 

Copyright Asiahomes Internet
All rights reserved. Revised: April 25, 2011

Toa Payoh Vets