The Cases of Rogers v. Whitaker and Chappel v. Hart

doctor has a duty to warn a patient of a material risk inherent in a proposed treatment; a risk is material if, in the circumstances of the particular case, a reasonable person in the patient's position, if warned of the risk would be likely to attach significance to it, or if the med- ical practitioner is or should reasonably be aware that the particular patient, if warned of the risk, would be likely to attach significance to it.

That was the essence of a High Court judgement, handed down on November 19, 1992, which irrevocably altered medical practice in Australia. The High Court dismissed an Appeal brought by a Sydney ophthalmologist against an award made against him by a patient blinded by sympathetic ophthalmia occurring in the opposite eye to the one treated. The details of the case are now unimportant, but ultimately the patient succeeded on only one item of negli- gence, that is, failure to warn of a risk which was stated to occur in one in 14,000 cases. 

Download the famous High Court judgement of Rogers v Whitaker that altered healthcare practice in Australia. With comment and analysis by Dr Paul Nisselle, former AMA (Vic) president and Australasian Secretary of MIPS, and currently, Senior Consultant, Medical Protection Society, UK. The High Court case of Chappel v Hart considered related issues.

This bound copy of the High Court's decisions in Rogers v. Whitaker and Chappel v. Hart has been provided free of charge by Mi-tec Medical Publishing as a service to medical practitioners and other healthcare professionals

with particular interests in medicolegal issues.

Click here to read: The Cases of Rogers v. Whitaker and Chappel v. Hart