To whom, and in what circumstances, does a duty of care exist? A duty of care is a duty not to be negligent, and it arises when a doctor-patient relationship arises. This may be by referral by the patient personally or from another doctor, and acceptance of that referral, or by the doctor's being on duty for all patients in certain categories, into which the patient falls, or by the doctor's voluntarily assuming responsibility, for example at a road traffic accident. There is usually no doubt that there is a duty of care, particularly in a critical care unit.
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