However, legal challenges from her doctors obstructed her efforts to seek experimental care abroad.
On Aug. 25 a judge agreed with an unnamed National Health Service trust’s doctors and ruled that Thirumalesh was unable to make decisions for herself. The medical professionals in charge of her treatment maintained that she was approaching, or had already begun, the final stage of her life and was “actively dying.” The NHS trust had asked the court to approve a palliative care plan for the woman that would have removed her from dialysis and thus resulted in death by kidney failure in a few days.
However, the two psychiatrists the hospital tasked with assessing Thirumalesh ruled that she was free from mental health issues and had the mental capacity to decide for herself.
Both Thirumalesh and her family objected to the ruling and had hoped to appeal it.
“Sudiksha was called ‘delusional’ for saying she wanted to live,” the family said in its Friday statement. “The ruling from Mrs. Justice Roberts was cruel, and no patient and family should be treated in this way.
Thirumalesh’s family said they were “deeply disturbed” by their treatment by the hospital trust and the courts.
“We have been gagged, silenced, and most importantly, prevented from accessing specialist treatment abroad for Sudiksha,” the family said. “Had she been allowed to seek nucleoside treatment six months ago it may well be that she would still be with us and recovering.”
“We did not look for this fight, this fight came to us from a ‘system’ that too readily gives up on life. We were brutally silenced, intimidated, and taken to court in the hour of our need,” their statement continued. “It is shocking that a family in the middle of stress and tragedy had a threat of imprisonment hanging over their heads.
“We have never been out for revenge, we just want justice and to be able to tell our and Sudiksha’s story.”
The family thanked medical practitioners who “did their best for Sudiksha.”
“To those few clinicians who seemed only to care about Sudiksha dying, we forgive you,” they said. “We are a Christian family who believe in life, love, and forgiveness.”
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Thirumalesh’s family paid for their own attorneys before they secured assistance from the Christian Legal Centre, a legal group under the umbrella of the advocacy group Christian Concern.
Andrea Williams, the chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, praised the woman’s family.
“This Christian family has shown courage in their most difficult hour facing the loss of their beloved Sudiksha. They stood firm in defending Sudiksha’s life,” she said in a statement Friday.
“This profoundly disturbing case has demonstrated the urgent need for an overhaul into how critical care decisions are made in the NHS and the courts. There is an urgent need for a more open and transparent system,” Williams continued. “We are concerned about how many other patients and families have been through similar ordeals and have had to suffer in silence.”
Williams said there has been “a series of disturbing and upsetting cases” on end-of-life issues and advocated a government inquiry into how the Court of Protection and the Family Division handles these cases.
Christian Concern is helping Thirumalesh’s family raise funds on its website.