Judge rules Muslim woman in coma with COVID-19 should be allowed to die

A judge has ruled that a Muslim mother with coronavirus should be allowed to die against her family’s wishes.

BBC News reports that the woman, who is in her early 30s and can’t be named, has been in an induced coma since giving birth to a baby boy last month.

The woman’s case was heard on Tuesday in the Court of Protection, where issues relating to people who lack the mental capacity to make decisions for themselves are analysed.

The University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust said her chances of survival were slim and ending life-support treatment was “in her best interests.”

The woman was rushed to hospital with coronavirus at 32 weeks’ pregnant. Doctors delivered her son by Caesarean section shortly after she was admitted.

A specialist told the judge her pancreas had stopped functioning, one lung had “died” and staff had tried everything.

“Her chances of making any meaningful recovery with the Covid are slim,” he said. “The feeling of the whole team is that she has reached the point where it is, in essence, zero.”

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On the other hand her family had asked for more time for treatment and said they believed “only God could end life.”

The woman’s sister told the court: “We believe in miracles. When God has written our death, that is when we will die. To unplug the machine, this is for us like asking someone to kill us.”

But Justice Hayden ruled that doctors can lawfully stop providing life-support treatment. He said evidence showed doctors were no longer preserving her life, but “prolonging her death.”

He added that the woman’s “life and hopes” had been extinguished by “this insidious virus” and she should be allowed to die with dignity.

“This family is seeking a miracle,” said Justice Hayden. “This is a very young mother in circumstances of almost-unspeakable sadness. The objective is not to shorten her life, [but] to avoid the prolongation of her death.”

He said doctors had prepared a palliative care plan and the woman’s family would be able to visit her.

Islam sanctifies life, depicts it as a gift from God and consistently emphasises the importance of preserving life and well-being.

Islamic scholars consider physician-assisted suicide and euthanasia to be forbidden. However, if the patient has an imminently fatal illness, withholding or withdrawing a futile medical treatment is considered permissible.

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