Supreme Court Note: Tong Seok May Joanne v Yau Hok Man Gordon  SGHC 252 (informed consent in medical negligence cases)
The High Court confirmed the applicable legal test in Singapore to determine whether a doctor is negligent in the giving of medical advice.
It held that as confirmed by the Court of Appeal in Khoo James v Gunapathy d/o Muniandy  1 SLR(R) 1024 and the High Court in D’Conceicao Jeanie Doris (Administratrix of the estate of Milakov Steven, deceased) v Tong Ming Chuan  SGHC 193, a doctor’s duty to give advice cannot be separated from his general duty of care to his patient. The test in Bolam v Friern Hospital Management Committee  1 WLR 582 that “[a doctor] is not guilty of negligence if he has acted in accordance with a practice accepted as proper by a responsible body of medical men skilled in that particular art”, as supplemented by the test of logic laid down in Bolitho v City and Hackney Health Authority  AC 232, applies equally to a doctor’s giving of advice as to his duties of treatment and diagnosis. The plaintiff’s reliance on the proposition in Pearce v United Bristol Healthcare NHS Trust  PIQR P53 and Chester v Afshar  1 AC 134 that a doctor has to inform the patient of a significant risk if it would affect the judgment of a reasonable patient, was thus rejected.
At Tong Seok May Joanne v Yau Hok Man Gordon  SGHC 252, paras 57–67. To view the judgment, click <here>.
Disclaimer: The above is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It is not intended to be a substitute for the reasons of the Court.