Clinical practice and the law – a legal primer

Mediclinical-practice book picco-Legal Minder has written another book!

This book was initially conceived of as being a guide for junior doctors.  It does this by doing 3 things.

Firstly it explains, so far as it impacts on the clinician’s life, how a lawyer’s mind works – the lawyer’s approach to investigating events, how a lawyer decides what weight any particular evidence carries and why, how evidence should be presented to any third party and the difference between factual and expert evidence.

Secondly the book explains in simple terms the law as it impacts on issues and events a doctor is likely commonly to experience, including confidentiality, capacity and consent, and interactions with the police, and helps the doctor to prepare for them and to record relevant observations, actions and decisions for future reference, whether by other clinicians or in court.

Thirdly it seeks to take some of the fear out of what happens ‘when things go wrong’ by explaining the different proceedings and inquiries which may result from an unexpected death, a serious complaint, or an accusation of negligence, and the legal framework in which they operate, and which will all be far less troubling if the lessons given earlier in the book have been put into practice.

After 40 years working professionally with clinicians from many specialities and of varied experience, I have no doubt that their professional lives would have been easier if they had started with the knowledge that this book would have given them (if it had been written then); they would have been better prepared, they would have worried less, they would have been better witnesses, whether witnesses of fact or expert witnesses, and whether on behalf of themselves or on behalf of others, and they would have left a much clearer and more comprehensible trail of notes and records for others to interpret than the countless thousands of entries I have spent a career trawling through, trying to interpret and understand.  Therefore there is much in this book that the senior colleagues of the junior doctors would benefit from even at this stage of their careers.

To see the forewords – from James Badenoch QC, Mike Foy, Consultant Orthopaedic and Spinal Surgeon, and Dr Jan Wise MSc FRCPsych IDFAPA – and the contents pages, and to order a copy, click here