Duty of Care is another of the terms that is becoming common in discussion about patient management & care.
As healthcare in Singapore arrives at the transition between paternalistic practice to one when patient autonomy requires a very different relationship between various parties, the concept surrounding Duty of Care needs to be better grasped.
In Paediatrics for instance, while the Duty of Care is to a child who is brought in for medical care. A child’s rights is paramount under most circumstances in law. Yet, there are circumstances when this right is in conflict with the Duty of Care. A seriously ill child, kept on ventilator after being resusitated, now brain dead brings a whole load of questions on what Duty of Care will mean. Must one consider the wishes of the parents? Must treating physicians consider what is in the best interest of this child? And what happens if there is a conflict of choice in treatment, have the parents the right to decide or is it treating physicians who hold the answers?
As healthcare in Singapore transitions, & with an ageing population on the increase, there will be many instances when courts may be called upon to intervene in order to determine an outcome
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