High Court of Australia

Queensland v Masson [2020] HCA 28

13 Aug 2020

Case Number: B63/2019

Before

KIEFEL CJ, BELL, KEANE, NETTLE, GORDON JJ

Catchwords

Negligence – Standard of care – Breach – Where woman suffering severe asthma attack treated by ambulance officers including intensive care paramedic – Where intensive care paramedic elected to administer intravenous ("IV") salbutamol rather than IV adrenaline in initial phase of treatment due to woman's high heart rate and high blood pressure – Where Clinical Practice Manual ("CPM") required that ambulance officers "consider" IV adrenaline – Whether decision to administer IV salbutamol contrary to CPM – Whether treatment fell below standard of care expected of ordinary skilled intensive care paramedic – Whether trial judge's finding that intensive care paramedic made clinical judgment to administer adrenaline "contrary to compelling inferences" or "glaringly improbable" – Whether administration of IV salbutamol supported by responsible body of opinion within medical profession.

Words and phrases – "adrenaline", "ambulance officers", "appellate intervention", "breach of duty of care", "case management guidelines", "clinical judgment", "clinical pharmacology", "clinical practice manual", "contrary to compelling inferences", "emergency medicine", "flowchart", "glaringly improbable", "intensive care paramedic", "negligent omission", "operating in the field", "ordinary skilled intensive care paramedic", "range of reasonable responses", "responsible body of opinion within the medical profession", "salbutamol", "severe asthma", "standard of care", "trial judge's advantage".
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