My son has got no life. I just want him to die with dignity
Father’s plea to doctors after accountant is left in a coma for three years following car park fall
A FATHER whose son has been in a coma for three years yesterday begged doctors to allow him to ‘die with dignity’.
Kavan Maddocks, 23, fell four storeys from a car park in 2016 and is severely brain damaged.
He is only alive because he is fed through a stomach tube and breathes with the help of an artificial ventilator. His father Frank said the family are in limbo because medical staff refuse to switch off his life support machine.
He is certain Kavan cannot see, feel or hear anything, yet medics have told him he could be kept alive for at least two more years.
Yesterday Mr Maddocks, 47, said: ‘I want him to die. It sounds an awful thing to say. But all his family and friends feel the same. It is terribly sad but we know that he is never coming back to us.
‘If the doctors could magically bring him out of his coma, no one would be happier than me. I would take him in any state – in a wheelchair, dribbling, anything. I would look after him and care for him every day if only he could have some sort of life. But he’s got no life. He just lies there in a miserable state. They have to use a pulley to get him out of bed. Who wants to see their son like that?’
Construction boss Mr Maddocks said: ‘ He has had three birthdays in hospital and three Christmases. Yet in all those years he has never once responded to me in any meaningful way.’ He said Kavan’s injury was more severe than that sustained in a skiing fall by ex-Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher, which left him in a coma in 2013. Mr Maddocks insisted: ‘He smashed his head worse than Schumacher.’
Trainee accountant Kavan, of Macclesfield, Cheshire, was 20 when he plunged from a multistorey car park on November 13, 2016. He had been drinking after attending a Macclesfield Town football match.
In 2017 he was declared ‘minimally conscious’ after specialists tested all his senses, including ringing bells in his ears. He had the same test again last year and his level of response was even lower.
But Mr Maddocks said he had been warned it could be another two years before doctors allow Kavan to slip away. He had been told it was usual to wait five years before someone can be classed as being in a ‘permanent vegetative state’. However, in another case two years ago a police officer left ‘minimally conscious’ after a motorbike accident was allowed to die after 18 months. PC Paul Briggs’ wife had to fight through the courts to allow her husband to die with dignity.
Mr Maddocks said: ‘It would be expensive to take this to court. We just want common sense. We want Kavan to be put out of his misery and given some dignity. I know doctors don’t want people to die but when you know there’s nothing going on and there’s no life in him you’ve got to make a decision at some point. Anyone could see it would be in Kavan’s best interest to pass away. I just want some peace for him.’
Kavan’s mother Janthea died in 2017 aged 46. Mr Maddocks, of Ossett, West Yorkshire, said it was now up to him and Kavan’s 18-year-old brother to fight for them all to be allowed closure.
Kavan is being looked after at Stocksbridge care centre near Sheffield – a private brain injury clinic – at a cost of about £2,000 a week to the NHS. The overall responsibility for his care is held by NHS managers at eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group. Mr Maddocks said: ‘It’s just wrong. You wouldn’t leave a dog like this. In the end, it is not about what I want, it’s what Kavan needs and what he would want himself.’
He accused NHS chiefs of ‘playing God’ and referred to high-profile cases of severely ill children on life support whose parents unsuccessfully fought to keep them alive.
‘I have read about the cases of Charlie Gard and Alfie evans. How can it be that those parents had to fight to try to keep their children alive and I have to fight for Kavan to be allowed to die? It doesn’t make sense. They are playing God both ways.’
Clare Watson of eastern Cheshire said: ‘The CCG continues to act in accordance with its duty of care to Kavan and has taken full account of the views of his family which it has received.’ She said it was taking steps ‘to seek a consensus for the most appropriate way forward’.
‘It’s best for him to pass away’