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VOLUME 24 , ISSUE 10 ( October, 2020 ) > List of Articles


Doctrine of Novus Actus Interveniens Not Always a Defense: Analysis of a Case

Abhaykumar B Dheeraj, Sandeep K Giri, Bedanta Sarma

Keywords : Causal chain, Medical negligence, Novus actus interveniens

Citation Information : Dheeraj AB, Giri SK, Sarma B. Doctrine of Novus Actus Interveniens Not Always a Defense: Analysis of a Case. Indian J Crit Care Med 2020; 24 (10):983-985.

DOI: 10.5005/jp-journals-10071-23634

License: CC BY-NC 4.0

Published Online: 25-01-2021

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2020; The Author(s).


Doctrine of novus actus interveniens (NAI) sometimes plays an important role as a tool of defense in medical negligence suits. It is a Latin phrase which means breakage of the causal chain at some point, relieving the initial wrongdoer. In medical negligence suits, the appearance of an external factor or event in the causal chain and the outcome is not directly related to the negligence of the doctor, but for the novel agent; the doctrine of NAI can be applied and the initial wrongdoer, i.e., the treating physician can be exempted. Autopsy of a similar type of case was performed in a tertiary care hospital in the State of Chhattisgarh. The autopsy findings identified a new factor in the form of dereliction in duty by another physician causing breakage of the chain in the current case described.

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