By respecting the duty of confidentiality, an NHS Trust has found itself defending a clinical negligence claim in the form of a Breach of Duty of Care.
St. George’s Healthcare NHS Trust had been treating the Claimant’s father under a hospital order. The father was diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease, an inherited condition that damages certain nerve cells in the brain but denied the hospital permission to inform his pregnant daughter. The daughter/Claimant went on to be diagnosed with the disease and claim for psychiatric damage and additional expense claiming that if she had known earlier she would have undergone the test and if positive would have terminated the pregnancy on the basis that she was owed a duty of care in negligence and that her right to a private and family life was infringed, contrary to the Human Rights Act article 8.
It was not disputed by the Claimant that the Defendant’s duty of care was towards the father and they were obliged to respect the confidentiality of his medical information.
The Claimant was seeking to impose liability for the omission and failure to inform her of her father’s condition but there was no relationship between the Claimant and the Defendant that meant she should be told. Nor had the Defendant assumed a responsibility for the care of the Claimant. The Particulars of the Claim did not therefore show a breach of article 8 and the Claim was stuck out.
Breach of Duty, Duty of Care and Clinical Negligence claims can be difficult areas to navigate for those seeking to claim damages or those accused. At Wrigley Claydon, our personal injury and civil litigation teams are highly experienced in such matters and can advise and represent you in these complex cases.
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