Relatives of a grandmother in her 50s, who has been left brain damaged and paralysed from the neck down after contracting Covid-19, are embroiled in a life-support treatment battle.
Specialists treating the woman, who is in a minimally conscious state, at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge say they can do nothing more to improve her condition.
Hospital bosses have asked a judge to rule that the woman, who is on a ventilator and has underlying health problems, should be allowed to die.
The woman’s adult children, and sister, disagree.
Her children say they would rather have a “mum that we could look after” than one they could “visit in a graveyard”.
Mr Justice Hayden is overseeing an online trial, due to end later this week, in the Court of Protection, where judges consider evidence relating to adults who lack the mental capacity to make decisions.
A lawyer representing hospital bosses told Mr Justice Hayden on Tuesday that the woman’s case appeared to be unique.
The judge, who is based in the Family Division of the High Court in London, said it was the first of its kind.
“It is the most extreme example of its kind, and it is the first time in the whole of the pandemic that I have been asked to make an end-of-life decision in relation to Covid-19,” he said.
“It is the first time a court has been asked to consider an end-of-life case, as a result of Covid.”