Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home News UK

Wife breaks down in tears describing condition of Gulf War veteran hurt in crash

Published 28/11/2016

Gulf War veteran Paul Briggs
Gulf War veteran Paul Briggs

A woman who has asked a court to withdraw life-support treatment for her injured husband broke down in tears as she described his condition.

The Court of Protection heard police officer and Gulf War veteran Paul Briggs, 43, from Merseyside, was in what some doctors described as a "minimally conscious state" following a car crash in July 2015.

The father of one, who is being treated at the Walton Centre in Liverpool, suffered a bleed on the brain, five fractures in his spine, bruising to internal organs and several other severe injuries in the collision.

His wife Lindsey, mother to his daughter Ella, five, told the hearing in Manchester on Monday he did not recognise her or respond to her when she went to see him.

She said: "The most important thing to him is independence.

"He is the kind of person who lives for the moment."

She added: "He was a loving dad to his daughter, he would want to bring his daughter up."

The court heard medical experts predicted that even in a best case scenario, Pc Briggs would remain severely physically disabled.

Mrs Briggs said: "I think he would see it as torture, just as hell, that everything he believes in and he lives for would just be taken away from him.

"He would be living for no reason."

She said when she looked into his eyes she saw "at best, nothing there, or at worst, distress or suffering".

But Conrad Hallin, representing the Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust and the Wirral Clinical Commissioning Group, said doctors had noticed some signs of improvement in his condition.

The life expectancy of people in his condition is estimated to be nine to 10 years.

Mrs Briggs told the court her husband had been active, sociable and a "hands on father" before the crash.

Asked what her husband might think of his situation now, she said: "If he is able to think, I think he would be horrified. Horrified for his daughter, that she's scared of him."

Pc Briggs's mother, Jan, said: "Every time I see Paul I can't help thinking about the person he was and it's very, very difficult to see him as he is now."

She told the hearing she went to see him at least twice a week.

She said: "It is very hard, but I think you just cling to that hope that he may recognise you or give some response.

"You just cling to that hope even though you know that it's unlikely."

She added: "I just don't want him to suffer any more."

The hearing is expected to last four days.

Chelsea Rowe, 26, was given a 12-month prison term in July after admitting causing serious injury to Pc Briggs by dangerous driving.

Liverpool Crown Court heard Miss Rowe was driving a Nissan Micra which was in a head-on collision with Pc Briggs's motorcycle on the Birkenhead flyover.

A medical report on Pc Briggs's potential for recovery said he would remain dependent on others for personal care and it was "highly unlikely" he would regain the mental capacity to make informed decisions, although it was possible he might be able to display emotion and improve his ability to communicate in the future.

His brother, Greg Briggs, said: "I think he would probably despise the fact that he was dependent 24/7 on others for the most basic human needs.

"He simply would despise that, he would hate that."

Pc Briggs's sister-in-law Paula Challinor told the court his daughter had become "petrified" of him since the crash.

She said: " I think he would be devastated if he could see her reaction to him."

She said if Pc Briggs knew his wife and daughter would be in "limbo" while they waited to see if his condition improved, he would want them to "let him go".

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph