Another duty of care case…

ABC v (1) ST George’s Healthcare NHS Trust (2) South West London & ST George’s Mental Health NHS Trust (3) Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust [2015] EWHC 1394 (QB)

This is an interesting case as to how far a duty of care extends and concerned a patient who had been diagnosed with Huntingdon’s disease.  

The patient had killed the mother of his child, but been convicted of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The Claimant’s daughter was pregnant and unaware of her father’s diagnosis; he having chosen not to tell her, although she later found out about his condition and claimed that had she have known earlier, she would not have continued with the pregnancy.

The question arose as to whether she had been owed a duty of care to be informed of her father’s diagnosis, with reference to the fact that this was a genetic disease and her pregnancy at the time of diagnosis.

A balance had to be struck between the father’s right to confidentiality of his condition and the Claimant’s need for knowledge.  There was no direct relationship between the clinicians and the claimant.  Having regard to the direct relationship with the father, the need to consider his daughter’s pregnancy when exercising a duty of care in advising him did not extend to a duty of care to the daughter.

The daughter has won the right to bring the case to the Court of Appeal:

Yorkshire post article

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