Wife wins right to turn off life support machine for Gulf War veteran husband


Doctors should stop providing life support treatment to a soldier-turned-policeman who was left in a coma after a road accident, a judge has ruled.

Gulf War veteran Paul Briggs, who is in his early 40s, suffered a severe brain injury in a motorcycle crash while serving with Merseyside Police in July last year.

His wife, Lindsey, had told Mr Justice Charles that he should be allowed to die – and wanted life-sustaining treatment to end.

But doctors said the judge should be cautious – a specialist said there was ‘potential’ for Mr Briggs to emerge from a minimally conscious state.

Mr Justice Charles announced his decision on Tuesday after analysing evidence at a hearing in the Court of Protection – where judges consider issues relating to people who lack the mental capacity to take decisions – in Manchester a few weeks ago.

Normally, patients at the centre of Court of Protection litigation are not identified because judges aim to protect their privacy.

But Mr Briggs’ accident was widely reported and no-one involved in the litigation has asked for him to be anonymised so Mr Justice Charles allowed him to be named.

Mr Justice Charles said Mr Briggs would go on to a palliative care regime at a hospice.

Mrs Briggs said: ‘The court case was the hardest thing we have ever had to do but we did it for Paul, to honour his wishes. ‘ We are grateful that Mr Justice Charles has shown compassion towards Paul, has respected his wishes and values and has understood what Paul would have wanted.

‘He has been able to place himself in Paul’s situation, and for that we will be forever thankful. ‘

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