Relatives wait for appeal ruling on grandmother left paralysed by Covid

A judge ruled earlier this year the woman, who is in her 50s. should be allowed to die after considering evidence at a Court of Protection hearing.

Woman paralysed by Covid
Woman paralysed by Covid

Relatives of a grandmother in her 50s left brain-damaged and paralysed from the neck down after contracting Covid-19 are waiting for a ruling on the latest stage of a life-support treatment fight.

A judge ruled earlier this year that the woman should be allowed to die.

Relatives challenged that decision at a Court of Appeal hearing a few weeks ago.

Appeal judges are scheduled to publish a ruling on Thursday.

Mr Justice Hayden initially considered evidence at a 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.

Specialists treating the woman – who doctors have described as the most complicated Covid patient in the world – at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge said life-support treatment should end.

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

Covid patient hearing
Sir Andrew McFarlane heard the appeal (Courts and Tribunals Judiciary/PA)

Sir Andrew McFarlane, the most senior Court of Protection judge in England and Wales, Lord Justice Moylan and Sir Nicholas Patten heard argument at a Court of Appeal hearing in London in early November.

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

Doctors told Mr Justice Hayden, who is based in the Family Division of the High Court, the woman was the “most complicated” Covid-19 patient in the world.

Specialists at Addenbrooke’s said there was nothing they could do to make “any aspect of her condition better” and that life-support treatment was causing her distress and adding to her “burden”.

Covid Patient Hearing
The woman is being treated at Addenbrooke’s Hospital (Andrew Parsons/PA)

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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