The possibility of legal action for breaches of professional care is very real. The Tort of Negligence is where professional responsibility is ultimately tested in the courts of law. Negligence may be the legal consequence of a breach of the ethical principle of non-maleficence - the duty to do no harm (Unison, 2003, Office of Public Sector Information [OPSI) (2005). It is worth remembering that a health care can be acting ethically in that she or he is following the principle of beneficence - of doing good - but nonetheless causes the patient harm which is actionable in negligence. In part the explanation lies with the fact that in the first instance the law is not concerned with motives or good intentions, but the consequences of actions. In the way this has been interpreted in every day health care practice, at least in some quarters and particularly in the U.S., is that good health care practice and ethical health care practice are largely questions of how to avoid legal liability (Unison, 2003). Technically, with respect to social and professional responsibility in a condition of public health and environment protection, the duty of care applies to anyone who produces or imports, keeps or stores, transports, treats or disposes of waste.
Injury: Reasonable and Harm
Harm is recognized by the courts have been physical injury, nervous or emotional shock and financial loss. Unless a person suffers an injury of one of these kinds, there will not have been any negligence by the Department as far as the law is concerned. The harm must be caused by the unreasonable actions of the Department for the Department to be liable for negligence (Armor Group, 2006). While there are no predetermined answers to questions about whether or not an action is reasonable, there are a number of factors which must be considered each time an employee makes a decision. ...Show more