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

Relatives of a grandmother in her 50s who was left brain damaged and paralyzed from neck to neck after contracting Covid-19 have issued a challenge after a judge ruled she was allowed to die.

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

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

Judge Hayden reviewed the evidence at a recent trial in the Court of Protection, where judges oversee hearings focused on adults who lack the mental capacity to make decisions, in London, and concluded that the resuscitation treatment should stop by the end of October.

Members of his family have now asked the judges of the Court of Appeal to review the case.

Judicial officials said an appeal hearing was due to take place in early November.

Lawyers say life-sustaining treatment will continue until appeals judges have made a decision.

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

Doctors said there was nothing they could do to improve “any aspect of her condition” and said the life-sustaining treatment caused her distress and increased her “burden”.

They believed her life expectancy could be measured in months and said moving her to hospice care would allow her to die peacefully and without distress.

Judge Hayden said it was the first time a judge had considered an end-of-life case following Covid-19.

He heard how the woman, who was overweight and had underlying health issues, went to hospital with symptoms of Covid-19 at the end of 2020.

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

She said the woman was “almost completely paralyzed” and suffered from “severe” cognitive impairment.

A specialist said the woman had previously unrecognized complications in the UK.

Judge Hayden ruled the woman could not be identified in media reports.

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Edward L. Robinett

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