Law School Research Seminar Series: ‘Medical disclosure and the problem of variant treatments’

19 February 2020, 1.00 PM - 19 February 2020, 2.00 PM

Dr Colm McGrath

1.12, 8-10 Berkeley Square, BS8 1HH

On Wednesday 19th February 2020 Dr Colm McGrath, Lecturer in Tort Law, Kings College London will be presenting a talk ‘Medical disclosure and the problem of variant treatments’, as part of the University of Bristol Law School Research Seminar Series.

The aim of the Law School Research Seminar Series is to foster the research culture within the Law School and to enhance the research networks between the Law School and external speakers/institutions. The talks aspire to address current big questions in the field of law.

Colm's research focuses on comparative private law and professional liability, with a strong emphasis on the liability and regulation of the medical profession in the UK and beyond. His work often seeks to explain the relationship between private law and society both as a historical and a modern phenomenon.  

The role of proactive communication in healthcare is conceived, at least in private law terms, as supporting the patient’s decision-making ability and right to self-determination. Whilst such communication focused traditionally on risk disclosure, it has now been confirmed that clinicians also owe a duty to disclose alternative treatments options. However, the scope and potential severability of that latter duty remains uncertain. This paper begins to tackle that uncertainty by mapping the purported duty and addressing some foundational questions as the basis for future research: When and to what extent does a clinician have to disclose X as the alternative to Y? Is it permissible not to do so on the basis of pre-existing rationing decisions? May an impecunious patient rely on their hypothetical access to private healthcare to instantiate the duty? Finally, we assess whether in potentially casting light on and critiquing extant and emergent forms of health inequality this duty coheres with the ethical goals of private law here.

All Law School staff and doctoral students are welcome. This is a great opportunity to learn more about other scholars on-going research and potentially foster the creation of collaborative projects in the future.

Contact information
For more information, please contact the Law School Research Administrator t: 0117 39 40042 e: Suzanne Mills.

Colm McGrath

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