In 2005, at the age of 17, Verity’s son was involved in a near fatal car accident that caused him severe traumatic head injuries. After a long period of unconsciousness he eventually showed signs of awareness but his prognosis was not good. Nine years after the accident her son is still alive, “living a life without dignity.”

In 2005 Verity’s 17-year old son was severely brain injured after a car accident. At that time he was given emergency medical intervention but given his youth, the fight for his survival seemed forever. There were more than five occasions when the consultants approached Verity and said her son was dying and that heart failure would be the cause of his imminent death.

The consultants put her son in a therapeutic hypothermia state (a treatment used on many brain injured patients) and she vividly remembers touching her son and how he felt like a cold, dead body. Verity’s son survived against all odds but was left in a vegetative state for a long time. After one year, the consultant wrote to Verity suggesting that on her approval, he would like to “withdraw nutrition and hydration” which would assist her son in dying as there was “no future for him”. She declined. Three years later, a similar request was made by another consultant despite her son showing minimal consciousness. A second opinion was appointed by the Courts of Protection resulting in her son’s feeding being reinstated.

Now, Verity’s son is at the top end of minimal conscience state living in a beautiful care home next to a lake. He is trying to communicate and is slowly improving. She says, “His ability to eat or taste proper food will probably never materialise but who knows with his determination.”

Since 2005, the tragic accident of Verity’s son has left the whole family “living a nightmare”, as she described it, “an out of control rollercoaster ride that never stops”. Verity is still grieving although her son is still alive. It’s like living in a state of limbo, she explains, never knowing how she may feel when her son finally dies. Would the grief be worse?

Although Verity is extremely proud of her son’s battle for survival, she knows that he would not have wanted to choose to live like this. She feels that the son she knew in her heart is dead. She says, “It was medical intervention that kept him alive. He would have died, given his choice but they fought and fought and fought and fought to keep him.” Although at that time all she wanted was for him to live, with hindsight, “I would let him die with dignity”.

Verity has learnt to take pride in her son.

Gender Female

When Verity’s teenage son was in intensive care all she wanted was for him to survive, but with hindsight, knowing what she now knows, she would have allowed him to die.

Gender Female

Verity feels very traumatised by what happened and devastated by losing her son, but being unable to grieve for him. She wants to be able to remember him as he was.

Gender Female