Grandmother paralysed by Covid slowly improving, judge told

Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge

Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge where treatment of a grandmother is subject to a court battle - Credit: Archant

Relatives of a grandmother in her 50s at the centre of a life-support treatment fight after being left brain-damaged and paralysed from the neck down as a result of contracting Covid-19 is slowly improving, relatives say. 
The woman's sister and adult children have told a judge considering the latest round of the dispute that in the past four months they have seen a "bubblier" person and someone who is "more alert and aware". 

However, doctors treating the woman at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge say she has deteriorated since August. 

Mrs Justice Theis on Tuesday began considering recent evidence at a hearing in the Court of Protection - where issues relating to people who lack the mental capacity to make decisions are considered - in London. 

Another judge had originally considered the case at a Court of Protection hearing in August. 

Mr Justice Hayden concluded that life-support treatment should end and that the woman should be allowed to die. 
The woman's adult children challenged his ruling in the Court of Appeal. 

Appeal judges upheld their challenge and said the case should be reheard. 

Mrs Justice Theis is due to reconsider evidence over two days. 

She said the woman, who is being referred to as AH in court documents, could not be identified. 

Specialists treating the woman, who doctors had described as the most complicated Covid patient in the world, say life-support treatment should end. 

The woman's relatives disagree and say she should be given more time. 

Barrister Katie Gollop QC, who represents Addenbrooke's bosses, summarised competing arguments in a written argument given to the judge. 

"AH's children and her sister served updating statements," said Ms Gollop. 

"In the four months since August 2021, they see slow improvement, laughter, fewer tears, a 'bubblier' person, and someone more alert and aware." 

She said relatives had provided videos which they thought illustrated "improvement". 

She added: "The hospital notes record, and everyone at the hospital who provides care for AH sees, a gradual decline in consciousness and subtle but unmistakeable deterioration." 

Health experts have described the case as a "devastatingly sad situation". 

After an earlier hearing one senior doctor said: "This is an exceptionally rare condition including catastrophic and irreversible brain damage, and our doctors have explored every medical treatment."