Status: 04.12.2023, 09:51 a.m.
By: Karolin Schäfer
A mother of four suffers particularly badly from Long Covid. The family has one last Christmas ahead of them. Then she wants to apply for euthanasia.
Gloucestershire – Chronic fatigue, muscle pain and hypersensitivity: Kelly Louise Smith-May from the south-west of England suffers from Long Covid. The 18-year-old has been bedridden for 39 months. Now the family makes a heartbreaking decision.
Mother suffers from Long Covid: Only "death can end her suffering"
Once a month, her husband, Stuart May, washes her hair. In addition, he has to rotate them regularly. "She's in so much pain," the 35-year-old told DailyMail. The illness makes it impossible for her to take care of her four children. Her husband quit his job as an excavator driver to care for his wife full-time. "I had no choice," he said. Now the family is dependent on social benefits.
In December 2021, May had been infected with Covid-19. But the symptoms remained. Later, she was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). This not only leads to physical weakness, but also causes neurocognitive symptoms such as difficulty concentrating and finding words. According to the German Society for ME/CFS, those affected often suffer from hypersensitivity to sensory stimuli. That's why the 39-year-old has to lie in a darkened room.
In the meantime, her condition is so bad that only "death could end her suffering," her husband explained. According to the Federal Centre for Health Education (BZgA), Long Covid refers to complaints that persist weeks after infection with the Corona virus. According to a study, Long Covid damages numerous organs in many cases.
One last Christmas: Mother suffering from Long Covid wants to end torment
At first, it was difficult to get his wife the help he needed. At first, doctors did not take her seriously. Now the mother of four children has not left the bedroom since June last year. Every few weeks, a doctor checks on her, her husband told the newspaper. "I try to take care of her as best I can and make her as comfortable as possible."
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In the meantime, the family has made a difficult decision. The woman, who suffers from Long Covid, wants to end her life in Switzerland. There, so-called assisted suicide is legal. Patients are given a lethal substance, which those affected then take themselves without external influence.
Kelly Louise Smith-May is suffering particularly badly from the consequences of her corona disease. © Screenshot @gofundme
May came up with the idea through an Internet forum where those affected exchange ideas. "We've talked about it a lot and it's what Kelly wants," her husband said. But it's not cheap. 10,000 Swiss francs (about 10,500 euros) is the cost of the service at Pegasos, a Swiss association for assisted suicide. A friend of the family has therefore launched a fundraising campaign.
Suffering from Long Covid: Family collects donations for euthanasia in Switzerland
"She tried to persevere," the Gofundme page reads. But her daily suffering has now reached the limit. In the meantime, almost 5000 British pounds (the equivalent of around 5832 euros) in donations have been collected (as of December 3, 2023). Now the family wants to spend at least one last Christmas together before they actually go to Switzerland.
If you or someone you know is suffering from an existential life crisis or depression, please contact the telephone counselling service at 0800-1110111. Help with depression and other mental health emergencies is also available under www.deutsche-depressionshilfe.de.
According to the Long Covid Switzerland association, registrations with euthanasia organisations are increasing. Most of them are between 20 and 50 years old, Vice President Florence Isler told the daily newspaper Blick. According to the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, little is known about the causes and treatment of Long Covid. Those who are severely affected therefore have little hope of improvement. The second corona infection is even said to increase the risk of Long Covid.