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Mother urges end of tube feeding so daughter can have ‘natural and dignified’ death

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A mother wants the High Court to make orders withdrawing tube feeding from her daughter, who has been in a persistent vegetative state for almost 10 years, to allow her die a “natural and dignified” death and cease a “miserable existence”.

Doctors agree the condition of the young woman, a ward of court aged in her 20s, is permanent, incurable and will not improve, High Court president Ms Justice Mary Irvine was told. She has no cerebral brain function, no capacity for awareness, no control over her body, spastic quadriplegia and suffers severe seizures.

The mother, who became upset at stages during her evidence, said her daughter had been full of life and laughter, very private about her body and would “absolutely hate” to be in the position she is.

While doctors say she does not feel pain, her body is clearly under great stress, her seizures are “horrendous” to watch, she makes screaming sounds resembling crying and her condition is deteriorating.

After her daughter suffered massive brain injury 10 years ago, doctors advised there was no hope of recovery but the mother decided at that time peg feeding should continue in the hope of some recovery and because she feared her daughter would “starve to death” if peg feeding was stopped.

She had read about people recovering from severe injury and hoped for “a miracle”.

“You learn very quickly we don’t live in Hollywood,” she said.

When her daughter marked another birthday four years ago and her friends had stopped coming to see her, she said: “It hit me she will never ever recover and I decided I would help her leave this miserable existence.”

She had not come to that decision lightly but considered the best thing for her daughter is to allow her a death that is “as peaceful as possible”.

“She has done her penance and is in limbo, she’s neither in this world or the next. I believe her soul is gone and it is just her body that is being kept alive. The spark is gone.”

She was also concerned doctors say her daughter will soon need surgery to address issues arising from skin tightening which would be invasive and would not change her underlying condition.

During a conversation years ago with her then-teenage daughter following several suicides of young people, the mother told her, due to concerns the girl might be glamourising suicide, that some who attempt suicide do not die but are left severely incapacitated.

Her daughter replied she would never want to be brain-damaged in a wheelchair or in nappies and, if that happened to her, to let her die.

The mother said, while she did ask 10 years ago that the feeding tube not be withdrawn, she felt she had insufficient information at the time and there was insufficient discussion with her, including about pain management. The hospital was very good but she felt people “pussyfooted around” and did not set out the “bare facts” and what the future would hold.

In evidence, a sister of the young woman also fully supported the orders.

Her younger sister had been “full of life”, had “the biggest smile” and was a great singer, she told the judge. She is now living a “horrible” existence and it was “heartbreaking” to see her enduring “horrific and terrifying” seizures. “She has no dignity, none whatsoever.”

Living through the Covid-19 pandemic has given more perspective on the true nature of her sister’s plight, she said. “We feel bad because we can’t move 5km but she can’t move at all.”

Ms Justice Irvine, who manages the High Court wardship list, has to decide, on foot of the evidence and the law, whether or not to make the orders.

Various family members are in court. The woman’s birth father has had little involvement in her life but her stepfather of many years supports the application.

Opening the application, Andrew Fitzpatrick SC, with Patricia Hill BL, said this was a case no mother would ever want to bring but his client had come to court to assert her daughter’s constitutional rights.

The daughter’s career and travel hopes were all sadly eliminated by an incident in summer 2011, he said. The mother, who still does not know precisely what happened, got a phone call saying her daughter had had a fit and was on her way to hospital.

The girl had suffered a very serious heart attack, her heart stopped for 45 minutes, she had further heart attacks and was in intensive care for 22 days on a ventilator. She was not expected to survive and the family agreed the ventilator should be switched off. However, she began to breathe on her own and was fed by tube on consent of her family, a situation that continues.

The Constitution recognises the sanctity of life and the presumption of taking all steps to prolong life, he said. However, there is no “absolute” duty to preserve life at all costs and her family wanted her to be allowed a natural and dignified death.

The hearing continues on Thursday.

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Hotel Indigo debuts in Austria

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Hotel Indigo opened its first hotel in Austria, Hotel Indigo Vienna – Naschmarkt. Located a short walk from the city’s historic center, the hotel offers 158 guest rooms, a rooftop garden resembling an urban jungle, a restaurant, and a lobby bar.

 

Taking inspiration from a famed local architect, Otto Wagner, a key member of the Secessionist movement, guests will find touches of gold used throughout the fixtures in the bathrooms as well as intricate patterns, made famous by Otto, woven into the carpet design in the hallway, and the tiles behind reception. Otto’s love for gold, Art Nouveau design, and ornate patterns can also be seen at famous local buildings such as the Majolikahaus, a short walk from the hotel. From ground level, the building looks innocuous, but as guests look skywards, they will see the top floors are decorated with exquisitely sumptuous floral motifs in brightly colored porcelain and gold leaf, a hallmark of the new style.

 

Stefanie Augustin, General Manager, Hotel Indigo Vienna – Naschmarkt, commented: “We are pleased to open our doors and accept our first guests into the first Hotel Indigo in Austria. We sit in the heart of the surrounding neighbourhood and strive to make all the locals proud, by helping to bring a bit of that external story in so guests can truly experience what Vienna has to offer.”

 

 

 

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Tolent secures Newcastle resi project (GB)

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Tolent will put up 135 ‘ultra-modern’ system-build homes, with designs selected from an architectural competition. Sunderland’s new Vaux neighborhood, being built on the site of an old brewery, will eventually have 1,000 homes, according to the plans, as part of a drive to double the number of people living in the city centre. The homes will stand alongside The Beam and City Hall – the latest development to rise from the ground at Riverside Sunderland. Construction work on the scheme is expected to start within weeks, forming the first of the new distinct neighbourhoods that will create city centre housing for up to 2,500 residents.

 

The properties are based on the winning designs in the Homes of 2030 competition, which was launched in March 2020, and managed by the Royal Institute of British Architects, to encourage the design of environmentally-friendly homes that support people in leading independent, fulfilling lives as society ages.? Construction work on the development is due to start this summer and the first tranche of homes should be completed by the end of 2023.

 

Sunderland City Council leader Graeme Miller said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to have taken this final step to get work started on our flagship residential scheme at Riverside Sunderland. The housing developments on Riverside Sunderland will be world-class, and Tolent is an ideal partner to deliver them, based locally and capable of building these aspirational homes.”

 

Tolent chief executive Paul Webster said: “Vaux neighbourhood is an amazing project that showcases the strides being taken in Sunderland to modernise the city centre. The world-class houses being built will provide a community fit for the future and an archetype for sustainable housing. As a truly local business, we are proud to be involved in the project and to showcase our ability to meet and exceed the capabilities of national contractors on a local level. The project will complement a number of local landmarks that we have constructed including The Beam, Beacon of Light and Echo Building. We have been working closely with the entire team since being appointed preferred bidder back in September and we can’t wait to get started.”

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BlackRock acquires Dagenham urban logistics development (GB)

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A joint venture (JV) between Chancerygatea fund managed by Credit Suisse Asset Management, and Hines has forward sold a 172,000ft² urban logistics development in Dagenham to a fund managed by BlackRock for an undisclosed sum. Dagenham Council has approved plans to speculatively build 15 Grade A urban logistics and industrial units at the development which is called Zephyr Park. The units range from 5,490ft² to 34,670ft² and are available leasehold and freehold. Construction is due to commence in August this year. The six-acre site was previously owned by wholesale electrical distributor Rexel UKSituated on Rainham Road between the A12 and A13, Zephyr Park is located less than half a mile from Hackman Capital Partners and Dagenham Council’s proposed €348.5m (£300m) film and TV studios.

 

Chancerygate managing director, Richard Bains, said: “Zephyr Park will be an outstanding urban logistics development which will generate continued investment and job creation for Dagenham. Forward selling Zephyr Park to BlackRock shows the strength in urban logistics as an asset class. It is also a testament to the high specification, a sustainable product we build as it attracts businesses to locate to our developments ensuring they are best placed to continue to grow. We look forward to working with Hines and BlackRock to deliver Zephyr Park and expect to achieve practical completion in summer 2023.”

 

Greg Cooper, Hines managing director, industrial and logistics, added: “We are pleased to have executed this opportunity to recycle this asset, with the value generated illustrating the unabating demand for high-quality logistics developments. It is an asset class which remains a key focus for Hines in the UK, and we are continuing to explore opportunities to grow our portfolio of both big box and urban facilities.”

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