THE BOLAM PRINCIPLE The test to determine what is the standard of care demanded of a doctor was established by McNair J. in Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee, which subsequently became known as the Bolam principle. By Dato’ Mah Weng Kwai. This legal conundrum was put to rest in the case of Zulhasnimar Hasan Basri & Anor v. Dr Kuppu Velumani P & Ors in which the Federal Court made a distinction between diagnosis and treatment, and the disclosure of risks. Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee (1968) 2 MLJ 271 [1967] 2 MLJ 45 The writer emphasised on the use of the intrakota bus because in Malaysia, it is the most common mode of transport as opposed to the omnibus in England. T This has thus far attracted criticism as to the deference such a … The doctor was entitled to inform the patient of all of the risks as any reasonable medical man would have done. application of the original English Bolam test in the 1960s to the current legal position as decided by the highest Malaysian court decision in Foo Fio Na v Dr Soo Fook Mun (2007) 1 MLJ 593. 479 ('Rogers'). However, in 1993, another case emerged from the Commonwealth, this time relating to the disclosure of risks. The Bolam test which demonstrates that a medical practitioner is incapable of negligence if his actions are certified as suitable by a ‘responsible body of medical opinion’ enhances this impression. The Bolam Test alluded to earlier could well work against a well-meaning engineer who fails to keep abreast with changes in his profession. Relying on that direction which is now accepted as the Bolam test or Bolam principle and the divergent medical evidence, the jury found that the hospital was not … Therefore, the application of the Bolam Test in medical negligence cases would be that the medical practitioners themselves would know better the standard of care required of a medical practitioner as compared to judges who are not medically trained. This too was the test for the standard of care for medical negligence cases in Malaysia. It was a small risk but if it was materialised, could be severe in nature. This rule is known as the Bolam test, and states that if a doctor reaches the standard of a responsible body of medical opinion, they are not negligent. Reading Time: 9 minutes Introduction. Surgeon did not specifically inform her of this risk. The Court held the Bolam Test would apply to the former whereas judicial determination applies to the disclosure of risks, as was the test in Rogers v Whitaker. Relevant themes: montgomery v lanarkshire health board, informed consent, bolam test. In determining the standards of care as such, it is only right that it be determined by medical professionals with the same specialisation or expertise. Justice McNair in his directions to the jury in the case of Bolam v Friern Hospital … In the well-known Malaysian case of Foo Fio Na v Dr. Soo Fook Mun & Anor [2007] 1 MLJ 593, the Federal Court, on 29/12/06, in its judgement declared inter alia, that the Bolam Test which is often used as the ground in determining the standard of care in regards to matters on medical negligence in Malaysia is no longer suitable to be applied. The doctor knows best. Prior to 29/12/06 the test for medical negligence accepted by the Courts in Malaysia was generally known as the Bolam Test or the Bolam Principle. Further, the Supreme Court recognised that lower courts had to some degree departed from the Bolam test in relation to the advice given by doctors to their patients. The doctor-centric approach it engenders is particularly troubling with respect to the duty to inform and does not bode well for a healthy balance in the doctor-patient relationship. b) Its can be refer to as patient-centric test, while Bolam test and Bolitho test can be referred to as doctor-centric test. All Rights Reserved. In the well-known Malaysian case of Foo Fio Na v Dr. Soo Fook Mun & Anor [2007] 1 MLJ 593, the Federal Court, on 29/12/06, in its judgement declared inter alia, that the Bolam Test which is often used as the ground in determining the standard of care in regards to matters on medical negligence in Malaysia is no longer suitable to be applied. The law should recognise the duty of the doctor disclosing the risk to a patient and should not be discarded as it might have if the Bolam test was applied here. Nonetheless, both the body of medical professionals and the courts have their individual roles to play and work in tandem with each other in order to ensure the best quality of medical care afforded by medical practitioners. In Bolam v. Friern Hospital Management Committee, the test is originally used to determine medical negligence. The English case, Bolam v Friern Hospital gave us the Bolam test, and the Australian case, Rogers v Whitaker, has it’s own set of criteria as well. 593 ('Foo Fio Na'), the Federal Court of Malaysia rejected the Bolam test in duty of disclosure of risks cases and endorsed the patient-centered approach in Rogers v. Whitaker (1992) 175 C.L.R. Affirming the demise of the antiquated Bolam-Bolitho test in relation to pre-treatment advice, this decision also adds Singapore to a growing list of countries which have embraced the concept of patient autonomy. Abstract. Mason CJ, Brennan, Dawson, Toohey and McHugh JJ said. Bolam Rules in Singapore and Malaysia – Revisited The classic Bolam test for medical negligence, controversial for its doctor-centric approach, has long been under attack when applied to a particular aspect of the doctor’s duty, namely the duty to inform. Bolam was … JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit organization helping the academic community use digital technologies to preserve the scholarly record and to advance research and teaching in sustainable ways. Taking that into account with the vast diversity in medicine, it is very difficult to establish legal principles to guide and govern the medical profession. The HC rejected the Bolam test. Prior to 29/12/06 the test for medical negligence accepted by the Courts in Malaysia was generally known as the Bolam Test or the BolamPrinciple. This test was applied to determine the doctor’s standard of care in relation to the treatment and information given to the patient. The question that arose was whether, in determining the standards of care pertaining to a medical procedure on which a judge has no expertise in, would this still be subject to judicial determination or should the right approach be the Bolam Test? Using the words of McNair J, conveniently referred to as the Bolam Test, "The test is the standard of the ordinarily skilled man exercising and professing to have that special skill." Swoboda has described ‘The deep ossification of the Bolam test in the common law’. Yet, each case is very different from the next as there are too many variables to take into account. improvement especially regarding the . Prior to 29/12/06 the test for medical negligence accepted by the Courts in Malaysia was generally known as the Bolam Test or the Bolam Principle. A contentious issue in the law of medical negligence in Malaysia is the standard of care that is expected of doctors in the spheres of diagnosis and treatment. According to the Bolam test, laid down in the case of Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee ... Other jurisdictions such as Australia 16 and Malaysia 17 have also adopted a ‘prudent patient’ approach to risk disclosure. never probed before prescribing a penicillin injection.” ‘ Sidaway v Bethlem Royal Hospital Governors 1985. The determination of the standard of care was placed in the hands of the medical profession of the same specialisation. The Bolam test was deemed to confer undue deference to the medical profession due to the courts’ reluctance to define the term, ‘a responsible body of medical opinion’. Therefore, the application of the Bolam Test in medical negligence cases would be that the medical practitioners themselves would know better the standard of care required of a medical practitioner as compared to judges who are not medically trained. Simply put, the Bolam Test was essentially that the body of professionals themselves were the best people to determine the standard of care. Nonetheless, both the body of medical professionals and the courts have their individual roles to play and work. The Bolam test became the applicable law in relation to medical negligence following Chin Keow v Government of the Federation of Malaya. 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