Complexities in proving delayed diagnosis of cancer cases
Walsh, G., & Walsh, A. (2012). Complexities in proving delayed diagnosis of cancer cases. Precedent, (110), 48-49.
A case, involving the liability of a general practitioner for an alleged failure to diagnose and treat a melanoma, was recently heard by Schmidt J in the Supreme Court of New South Wales. The plaintiff was ultimately unsuccessful, as he was unable to prove causation, although her Honour held that the defendant had breached his duty of care and could not rely on a defence under section 5O of the Civil Liability Act 2002 (NSW). The case highlights the need for parties to ensure that their expert opinion evidence satisfies the common law requirement that the expert clearly set out the basis for their opinions, and is a reminder that evidence that the defendant’s acts or omissions have increased the risk of harm occurring is not enough to prove causation.
duty of care, expert evidence, medical practitioners