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R v Adomako – 1995

March 13, 2024
Micheal James

Jurisdiction / Tag(s): UK Law

Introduction to R v Adomako:

R v Adomako – 1995 is a landmark case that profoundly influenced the legal landscape regarding medical negligence and criminal liability. This case delves into the tragic events leading to the death of a patient and the subsequent criminal prosecution of Dr. Adomako, setting a precedent for accountability in medical practice.


The case emerged from an incident during a routine medical procedure where the patient suffered a fatal anesthetic mishap. Dr. Adomako, the anesthesiologist, faced criminal charges for gross negligence manslaughter due to his alleged failure to meet the standard of care expected of a medical professional. The case raised significant questions about the boundaries of medical responsibility and legal accountability.

Facts of the Case:

During the medical procedure, Dr. Adomako failed to notice and rectify a critical issue with the patient’s breathing apparatus, leading to irreversible harm and eventual death. The facts of the case highlighted Dr. Adomako’s alleged negligence in monitoring the patient’s condition and responding promptly to signs of distress. These factual circumstances formed the basis of the criminal charges brought against him.

Legal Issues:

The case brought to the forefront complex legal issues surrounding medical negligence and criminal liability. It required a careful examination of the legal principles governing the duty of care owed by medical professionals, the standard of care expected in medical practice, and the threshold for establishing criminal negligence in medical settings.

Court Proceedings:

The case proceeded to trial, with both the prosecution and the defense presenting compelling legal arguments before the court. The prosecution sought to establish Dr. Adomako’s culpability for the patient’s death, emphasizing his alleged disregard for basic safety protocols. In contrast, the defense argued for a more nuanced understanding of the circumstances, contending that Dr. Adomako’s actions did not meet the threshold for criminal negligence.


After careful deliberation, the court rendered its judgment, finding Dr. Adomako guilty of gross negligence manslaughter. The judgment emphasized Dr. Adomako’s duty of care towards the patient and his failure to meet the requisite standard of care expected of a competent medical professional. The ruling set a precedent for holding medical practitioners accountable for gross negligence leading to patient harm or death.

Impact and Significance:

The judgment in R v Adomako – 1995 had profound implications for medical practice and legal accountability. It underscored the paramount importance of upholding the duty of care owed by medical professionals to their patients and ensuring accountability for lapses in patient safety. The case prompted healthcare institutions to reassess their safety protocols and prioritize patient welfare.

Moreover, the ruling served as a wake-up call for medical practitioners, highlighting the potential legal consequences of negligence in patient care. It fostered a culture of vigilance and accountability within the medical profession, emphasizing the imperative of continuous improvement in patient safety standards.


R v Adomako – 1995 stands as a watershed moment in medical negligence law, reshaping the legal landscape and emphasizing the centrality of patient safety in medical practice. Through meticulous legal analysis and deliberation, the court reaffirmed the duty of care owed by medical professionals and underscored the need for accountability in cases of gross negligence. The case serves as a poignant reminder of the profound impact of medical negligence on patient welfare and the imperative of upholding the highest standards of care in healthcare settings.

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