Court: Life-Support Treatment Not in Archie's 'Best Interests'

UK Court of Appeal refuses to block hospital from turning off Archie Battersbee's ventilator
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 1, 2022 11:56 AM CDT
UK Court: Hospital Can Turn Off Comatose Boy's Ventilator
The mother of Archie Battersbee, Hollie Dance, center, speaks to the media outside the Royal Courts of Justice, London, on July 25, 2022.   (Dominic Lipinski/PA via AP)

(Newser) – A British court on Monday refused to block a hospital from ending life-support treatment for a 12-year-old boy who has suffered catastrophic brain damage. The parents of Archie Battersbee have fought unsuccessfully in the courts to prevent the Royal London Hospital from turning off the boy's ventilator and stopping other interventions that are keeping him alive. That had been due to happen Monday, but after the family appealed to the United Nations, the British government asked the Court of Appeal to take another look at the case.

After an emergency hearing, the court said it would not extend a stay on the withdrawal of life support beyond noon on Tuesday, reports the AP. "Every day that [Archie] continues to be given life-sustaining treatment is contrary to his best interests and, so, a stay, even for a short time, is against his best interests," judge Andrew McFarlane said. The judge said the medical evidence showed that Archie’s "system, his organs, and, ultimately, his heart are in the process of closing down. The options before the court have always been stark."

Archie's parents can still ask the UK Supreme Court if it will hear the case. If it agrees, the deadline would likely be extended again. Archie was found unconscious at home with a ligature over his head on April 7. His parents believe he may have been taking part in an online challenge that went wrong. Doctors believe Archie is brain-stem dead and say continued life-support treatment is not in his best interests. Archie’s mother, Hollie Dance, said doctors and judges should not have the final say about Archie’s treatment. "Archie is my child," she told the BBC. "It shouldn’t be anybody else’s decision but ours."

(Read more life support stories.)

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