A young mother of two has been in an induced coma for over a month after giving birth to her second child. With her pancreas having ceased to function and one lung that has “died,” an urgent virtual hearing was held to determine her future outcome.
The decision was made by Mr. Justice Hayden, a judge, who ruled that doctors can lawfully stop artificially prolonging the woman’s life against the wishes of her husband and sister. The judge described the case and the decision as one of “almost unspeakable sadness” but was adamant in his decision as the Leicester specialists advised him that the woman’s chances for survival are “zero.”
The unnamed woman was in her early 30s and she was a married Muslim with a 3-year-old daughter and a son that was born just before she fell into a coma. The coma itself was due to a combination of factors:
- The woman’s underlying Addison’s disease – a rare disorder of glands that produce essential hormones.
- The Covid-19 strong fever that suddenly worsened her symptoms and forced the family to rush the woman to the Leicester ER.
- The emergency and premature birth of the woman’s son.
When the woman was accepted into the ER, doctors immediately delivered her baby through a caesarean section as the woman’s condition was worsening by the minute. Even though she was only 32-weeks pregnant, her son was delivered successfully and will have a chance for a long and healthy life.
His mother wasn’t as lucky. The woman fell into a coma soon after her son’s birth and her condition has been getting worse ever since. According to the medical professionals and Justice Hayden, it eventually got to a point where prolonging her suffering was just unnecessary.
The woman’s husband and sister disagreed with the court’s decision. As devout Muslims, they believe that only God could end a life and the woman should’ve been kept on the hospital’s machine for as long as she was medically deemed alive.
According to the Judge, however, the evidence indicated that the hospital’s staff and machine were no longer keeping the woman alive but were just prolonging her death. Hayden made his decision with obvious regret and pointed out that the woman’s “hopes and dreams” were extinguished by “this insidious virus” and her family was now “split apart permanently.”
Justice Hayden also added that “This family is seeking a miracle,” and that he was faced with “a tragedy of almost-unimaginable decision.” He made the decision based on the advice of the woman’s overseeing healthcare specialists who told him that “Her chances of making any meaningful recovery with the COVID are slim,” and that “The feeling of the whole team is that she has reached the point where it is, in essence, zero.”
“The objective is not to shorten her life,” he added. “[But] to avoid the prolongation of her death.”
The woman’s family was nevertheless inconsolable and her sister said that “We believe in miracles. When God has written our death, that is when we will die.” She added that “To unplug the machine, this is for us like asking someone to kill us.”