Family of Covid patient WIN appeal against life support ruling

Family of ‘world’s most complicated Covid patient’ WIN latest stage of legal fight to keep her alive: Judges say case will be re-heard after they appealed ruling that brain-damaged grandmother in her 50s should be allowed to die

  • Family of ‘world’s most complicated Covid patient’ battle to keep her alive 
  • Judge ruled the brain-damaged grandmother should be allowed to die 
  • The woman’s relatives disagreed and said she should be given more time 
  • They asked three appeal judges to overturn Mr Justice Hayden’s decision 
  • Appeal judges today allowed family’s appeal and said case should be reheard 

The family of a grandmother in her 50s left brain-damaged and paralysed from the neck down after contracting Covid have today won the latest stage of a life-support treatment battle. 

Specialists treating the woman dubbed by doctors the ‘most complicated Covid patient in the world’ at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge had argued that she should be allowed to die. 

A judge ruled earlier this year that her life-support treatment should end, but her relatives challenged that decision at a Court of Appeal hearing and argued that she should be given more time. 

They insisted that she can ‘feel and show degrees of emotion’ and enjoys watching TV series EastEnders and likes Mr Bean. 

Today, appeal judges allowed the family’s appeal and ruled that the case should be reheard – meaning that life-support treatment will continue as the legal battle enters its next phase. 

The woman’s daughter said: ‘I almost cried when I found out. It’s like a ton of bricks has been lifted off me. We are now preparing for the next hearing – we are preparing for everything.’ 

Specialists treating the woman – who doctors have described as the most complicated Covid patient in the world – at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge said she should be allowed to die 

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. 

He also ruled that the woman could not be identified in media reports. 

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. 

Doctors told Mr Justice Hayden, who is based in the Family Division of the High Court, the woman was the ‘most complicated’ Covid 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’.

Mr Justice Hayden initially considered evidence at a trial in the Court of Protection in London and concluded that life-support treatment should stop by the end of October 

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.

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

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