An 81 year old woman was kept alive against her will after a hospital misplaced her living will.

Brenda Grant made the living will, also known as an advance directive, which stated that she feared degradation and indignity more than death after watching her mother suffer from dementia. The document stated that if Mrs Grant was no longer of sound mind or had suffered from certain ailments she should not be given any treatments which prolonged her life.

The George Eliot hospital in Nuneaton, Warwickshire had the advance directive but it was mixed up in Mrs Grant’s medical notes and not spotted by staff treating Mrs Grant. She had not advised her family of the document’s existence and they were only made aware of it by her GP who then assisted with ensuring the advance directive was complied with.

Mrs Grant had a catastrophic stroke in October 2012 which left her unable to talk, walk and swallow. She was in hospital for three months before she was fitted with a stomach peg to allow direct tube feeding and moved to a nursing home. Whilst there, Mrs Grant repeatedly tried to remove the tubes from her arms and was clearly distressed. At this stage, her GP alerted to the family to the advance directive and steps were taken to remove the tubes. Mrs Grant passed away on 4 August 2014.

The George Eliot Hospital Trust admitted liability and paid Mrs Grant’s family £45,000 in an out-of-court settlement.

Adam Weitzman QC represented the family during proceedings.

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