Ultimate doctor liability: A myth of ignorance or myth of control?

TitleUltimate doctor liability: A myth of ignorance or myth of control?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsCashin A, Carey M, Watson N, Clark G, Newman C, Waters CD
ISBN Number1322-7696
KeywordsClinical Competence, Delegation, England, Expert Testimony - legislation & jurisprudence, Government Regulation, Health Care - legislation & jurisprudence, Humans, Legal, Legislation, legislation and jurisprudence, Liability, Malpractice - legislation & jurisprudence, Medical Errors - legislation & jurisprudence, Medical Errors - nursing, Medical liability, Mythology, New South Wales, Nurse liability, Nurse Midwives, Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Practitioners - legislation & jurisprudence, Nurses, Nursing, Nursing indemnity, Peer Review, Physicians, Practice Guidelines as Topic, Pregnancy, Professional - legislation & jurisprudence, Psychiatric Nursing, Quality of Health Care - legislation & jurisprudence, Risk Management, United States, Vicarious liability

Ultimate medical doctor responsibility for the care delivered to patients by all professionals is a myth. Legally Lord Denning dismissed the myth in the mid-20th century in England. The assumption that a medical doctor is responsible for the care delivered by nurses has not existed in English and Australian law since that time, and it has been actively refuted. Yet it is a myth that continues to circulate influencing health service, state and federal health policy. For some it is a myth of ignorance and for others it is a means of control. This paper outlines the relevant case law to debunk the myth of ultimate medical doctor control.