Barnett v Chelsea & Kensington Hospital

Barnett V Chelsea & Kensington Hospital

Barnett v Chelsea & Kensington Hospital

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Barnett v Chelsea & Kensington Hospital Management Committee 1 All ER 1068 is an English tort law case relating to the but for test of causation.


Three men attended at the emergency department but the casualty officer, Dr Banerjee, who was himself unwell, did not see them, advising that they should go home and call their own doctors. One of the men died some hours later. The post mortem showed arsenic poisoning which was a rare cause of death.


It was held, that on the 'but for' test, even if the deceased had been examined and admitted for treatment, there was little or no chance that the only effective antidote would have been administered to him in time. Although the hospital had been negligent in failing to examine the men, there was no proof that the deceased's death was caused by that negligence thus it was found not to be the doctor's fault.

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