Life support PC Paul Briggs may benefit from rehab, say doctors

PC Briggs on bike Image copyright Merseyside Police
Image caption PC Briggs previously served as a soldier in the Gulf War

An injured police officer whose wife wants medics to end his life support has potential to come out of minimally conscious state, a court heard.

Paul Briggs, 43, of Wirral, Merseyside, suffered a brain injury in a crash in July 2015.

Lindsey Briggs told Manchester Court of Protection he would not have wanted to live as living without his independence would be "torture".

Doctors at the Walton Centre in Liverpool are opposing the application.

PC Briggs, a Gulf War veteran, suffered a bleed on the brain and five fractures in his spine in the collision and is being kept alive through medical intervention.

'Buzzer response'

Specialist speech and language therapist Mary Ankers told the court there was still "potential" for him to emerge from the minimally conscious state.

"His responses in terms of command following... have certainly become more consistent."

The court heard staff would give PC Briggs a buzzer and ask him questions which he could respond to by pressing the buzzer once for yes or twice for no.

Ms Ankers said in 47 out of 64 sessions he had been able to respond to commands from staff at least once, an improvement on an assessment earlier this year.

But she told the court his response to higher-level tasks was "highly inconsistent".

Consultant neurologist Dr Shajufay Mahendran told the court she believed PC Briggs might benefit from going to a rehabilitation unit.

She said: "Unless we've given Mr Briggs that chance, we haven't actually explored the maximum we could for him."

"We haven't explored what potential rehabilitation has and what potential of recovery there is."

She said PC Briggs was only able to control movement of his head, eyes, the toes on his right foot and his right index finger.

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

The hearing is expected to continue until Thursday.

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