Res ipsa loquitur doctrine is hard to base the arguments on in the court, and according to the polls among medical negligence solicitors, only 19% consider that using the doctrine is a reasonable in medical negligence practice. Nevertheless, there are cases when the plaintiff inflicted such damage that shows undeniable malpractice. In the case against the Voice of Cambridge Area Health Authority a patient suffered a brain injury due to the fact that he had a heart attack when he was under general anesthesia. The Court concluded that this was not supposed to happen under the described circumstances, and that therefore the accused had to provide an explanation of what happened that would prove the absence of criminal negligence in his actions.
The Canadian case of McDonald v. York County Hospital gives us the following example. In this case, the plaintiff was taken to hospital for treatment of ankle fracture and he went out of the hospital with an amputated leg. All the prerequisites of res ipsa loquitur doctrine were there: usually in such circumstances the patient does not lose his leg until clinical negligence takes place. The plaintiff could not explain what had happened and the accused could not explain it and the plaintiff have a doctor whose criminal negligence led to this injury. (more…)