Barnett v Chelsea & Kensington Hospital [1969] is a landmark case in the field of negligence law, particularly in relation to the duty of care owed by healthcare professionals to their patients.

In this case, the plaintiff, Mr. Barnett, was taken to the emergency department of the defendant hospital after drinking tea that was later found to have contained poison. Despite showing symptoms of poisoning, Mr. Barnett was sent home by a doctor who did not examine him, as the doctor believed that he was suffering from gastroenteritis, which was a common ailment at the time. Mr. Barnett later died as a result of the poisoning.

The court ultimately found that the hospital and its employees had not breached their duty of care to Mr. Barnett. While the doctor’s decision to send Mr. Barnett home without examining him was negligent, the court held that this negligence had not caused Mr. Barnett’s death, as his condition was already too advanced for treatment to be effective.

This case is often cited as an example of the limits of the duty of care owed by healthcare professionals, as it establishes that a healthcare professional will only be liable for a breach of duty if their negligence caused the harm suffered by the patient. It also highlights the importance of careful diagnosis and treatment in the medical profession, and the potential consequences of failing to provide appropriate care to patients.