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Roe v Minister of Health [1954] 2 WLR 915 Court of Appeal

Two claimants had been given an anaesthetic for minor operations. The anaesthetic had been contaminated with a sterilising fluid. This resulted in both claimants becoming permanently paralysed. The anaesthetic had become contaminated during storage. The anaesthetic was stored in glass ampoules which were emerged in the sterilising fluid. It transpired the ampoules had minute cracks which were not detectable with human eye. At the time it was not known that the anaesthetic could be contaminated in this way and the hospital followed a normal procedure in storing them this way.


There was no breach of duty. The risk was not foreseeable as it was an unknown risk at the time.
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