Rosenberg v Percival: 5 Apr 2001

Austlii High Court of Australia – Negligence – Breach of duty – Surgeon’s duty to warn of material risk in proposed surgery – Identification of the material risk – Meaning of material risk.
Negligence – Causation – Whether failure to warn of a material risk causative of plaintiff’s injury – Whether patient would not have undergone treatment if warned.
Appeal – Appeal by rehearing – Powers of appellate court – Decision dependent on credibility findings – Authority of appellate court to reach conclusions different from trial judge.
Evidence – Credibility of witnesses – Limits of appellate review in respect of findings of fact based on assessment of the credibility of a witness.
Gummow J said that courts should not be too quick to discard the possibility that a medical practitioner was or ought reasonably to have been aware that the particular patient, if warned of the risk, would be likely to attach significance to it, merely because it emerges that the patient did not ask certain kinds of questions.


Gleeson CJ, McHugh, Gummow, Kirby and Callinan JJ


205 CLR 434, 75 ALJR 734, [2001] HCA 18



Cited by:

CitedMontgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board SC 11-Mar-2015
Change in Doctors’ Information Obligations
The pursuer claimed that her obstetrician had been negligent, after her son suffered severe injury at birth. The baby faced a birth with shoulder dystocia – the inability of the shoulders to pass through the pelvis. The consultant considered that a . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Commonwealth, Professional Negligence

Updated: 04 May 2022; Ref: scu.544328