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Court To Decide Whether To Withdraw Treatment From Policeman

Wife Says He Would Not Have Wanted To Live In Minimally Conscious State For Years

28.11.2016

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397

A High Court judge in the Court of Protection will be asked this week to decide whether to withdraw the medical treatment of a British army veteran and police officer who has been in hospital showing no signs of recovery for well over a year, as his family says he should be able to end his life with dignity as that is what he would have wanted.

Paul Briggs, 43, suffered a severe brain injury in a motorcycle crash while working as a police officer in Merseyside in July last year. He has been in a minimally conscious state in hospital for 17 months.

Mr Briggs is a veteran of the Gulf War and has been a dedicated policeman who lived an active life. His family strongly believe he would not have wanted to carry on being provided medical treatment in his current condition.

Following the accident Mr Briggs was treated for a bleed on the brain, five fractures in his spine, bruising to internal organs and several other severe injuries. Mr Briggs is unable to speak, make any informed decisions or have any independent control of his body. 

It is believed he could live for up to nine years with treatment keeping him alive in his current minimally conscious state.  Another independent doctor has diagnosed Paul as being in a “permanent vegetative state". Specialist and expert assessments have been carried out to determine Paul’s condition.

Now his wife Lindsey, from Merseyside, along with other family and friends, say that given his current condition and long term prognosis Paul would have wanted medical treatment to be withdrawn so that he could pass away with dignity.

As Paul had not made any advance decision in writing about what should happen in these circumstances the Court of Protection is being asked to make a decision after hearing from several medical expert as well as his family. The hearing in the Court of Protection will take place at the Manchester Civil Justice Centre and will begin on Monday 28 November 2016. The hearing is scheduled to last for four days.

The family has also received help from advocacy organisation Empowerment Matters which helps support families through difficult decisions and to challenge healthcare trusts prior to approaching the court for a final decision.

Expert Opinion
“The time since Paul’s accident has been extremely difficult for Lindsey and Paul’s family and Lindsey just wants what is best for him. She firmly believes that the withdrawal of treatment is in Paul’s best interests given his previously expressed wishes, his injuries and his current condition and prognosis.

“We will continue to support Lindsey through the legal process as she continues to fight for Paul’s wishes and feelings to be respected and we will be asking the Court of Protection this week for treatment to be withdrawn based on all the available evidence Lindsey has received.”
Mathieu Culverhouse, Partner

People involved in Court of Protection hearings are usually kept anonymous because of their vulnerability, but because this case has previously been widely reported there are no reporting restrictions in place.