Journal article

Doctors Suing Patients: Wrestling with Doing No Harm

Ian Freckelton

Journal of Law and Medicine | Thomson Reuters | Published : 2017


© 2017 Thomson Head Office. The obligation to abstain from doing harm to patients (non-maleficence) and the duty to engage in conduct which does good (beneficence) has a lengthy ethical history in medicine, dating back to the Hippocratic Corpus of writings. Generally, for a health practitioner to initiate litigation against a patient would be inconsistent with such precepts. However, the conduct of some patients constitutes a waiver in this regard. The circumstances surrounding the Supreme Court action in New South Wales of Al Muderis v Duncan (No 3) [2017] NSWSC 726 illustrate that such conduct by health practitioners may not only be ethically defensible but prudent in the modern online env..

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University of Melbourne Researchers

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