The article describes a study of the perceptions of three groups – patients, orthopaedic surgeons and the surgeons’ practice managers – concerning three types of legal risk associated with the duty of care: failure to follow up, failure to warn and failure to diagnose. The study found there is cause for concern about doctors’ follow-up and documentation of patient care. Doctors may be unaware of the Australian courts’ propensity to emphasise practitioner responsibility rather than patient autonomy. A further important result is the considerable disparity between the surgeons’ views and the views of their practice managers about the duty of care. The article draws out implications for improved risk awareness and suggests further research.
ANZSRC / FoR Code