Relatives appeal as judge says paralysed Covid victim should be allowed to die

Relatives Appeal As Judge Says Paralysed Covid Victim Should Be Allowed To Die Relatives Appeal As Judge Says Paralysed Covid Victim Should Be Allowed To Die
Addenbrooke’s University Hospital, © PA Archive/PA Images
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By By Brian Farmer, PA

Relatives of a grandmother in her 50s left brain-damaged and paralysed from the neck down after contracting Covid-19 have mounted a challenge after a judge ruled that she be allowed to die.

Specialists treating the woman, who cannot speak and is on a ventilator, at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge in the UK said life-support treatment should end.

The woman’s relatives disagreed and said she should be given more time.

Mr Justice Hayden considered evidence at a recent trial in the Court of Protection, where judges oversee hearings centred on adults who lack the mental capacity to make decisions, in London, and concluded that life-support treatment should stop by the end of October.

Members of her family have now asked Court of Appeal judges to consider the case.

Court officials say an appeal hearing is due to take place in early November.


Lawyers say life-support treatment will continue until appeal judges have made a decision.

Specialists had told Mr Justice Hayden that the woman was the “most complicated” Covid-19 patient in the world.

Doctors said there was nothing they could do to make “any aspect of her condition better” and said life-support treatment was causing her distress and adding to her “burden”.

They thought that her life expectancy could be measured in months and said moving her to a palliative care regime would enable her to die peacefully and without distress.

Mr Justice Hayden said it was the first time a judge had considered an end-of-life case as a result of Covid-19.

He heard how the woman, who was overweight and had underlying health problems, went into hospital with symptoms of Covid-19 late in 2020.

Barrister Katie Gollop QC, who represented hospital bosses, said the woman’s case appeared to be “unique”.

She said the woman was “almost entirely paralysed” and had “severe” cognitive impairment.

One specialist said the woman had complications not “described” in the UK before.

Mr Justice Hayden ruled that the woman could not be identified in media reports.

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