Life support

English courts to reconsider life support for Archie Battersbee, boy with severe brain injury | National Catholic Register

England’s High Court is due to hold another hearing to determine whether ending life support for seriously injured 12-year-old boy Archie Battersbee is indeed in the boy’s best interests, an appeal court has heard.

“The decision shows the critical importance of never giving up,” Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Center, said June 29. “In these difficult times, nerves and principles matter. This judgment affirms life and will protect many more people from a slippery slope in which the legal definition of death is expanded.

“When there is life there is hope. We continue to pray that Archie can recover, given more time,” Williams said on June 29, according to the London-based public engagement group. , Christian Concern.

The Christian Legal Center, a specialist ministry of Christian Concern, supports the Battersbee family.

Archie has not been conscious since being injured in April at his home in Essex in what was believed to be an accident. The boy’s parents found him unconscious with a ligature around his neck. His mother said the boy could have mimicked an online social media ‘challenge’, reports BBC News.

His parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, have asked hospital officials and the courts for more time and more medical tests to assess whether their son’s condition is improving. They note that Archie’s heart continues to beat.

However, doctors at the Royal London Hospital have argued it is ‘very likely’ he is medically brain dead. They asked the High Court’s Family Division to rule that it was in Archie’s best interests to die by removing the life support system.

The High Court ruled that on a balance of probabilities the boy was already dead and his life support should be removed.

Solicitors for the parents argued the High Court judge erred and failed to give enough weight to Archie’s family and beliefs.

Lawyers for Barts Health Trust, which owns the hospital, had argued that previous hearings and the judge’s decision had determined whether removing life support was in Archie’s best interests.

Alan Shewmon, a pediatric neurologist, has spoken out against this argument. He told a court hearing that there was “absolutely not” enough evidence to diagnose Archie as dead. Shewmon cited numerous cases where people diagnosed as brain dead have recovered, reports Christian Concern.

The three judges of the Court of Appeal sided with the family. They set the next hearing for July 11 and said they would give reasons for their decisions at a later date, BBC News reports.

Edward Devereux, who leads the parents’ legal team, told appeal court judges it would be “unconscionable” not to use a standard of certainty beyond a reasonable doubt in “matters of life or dead”.

“Doctors, when they certify death, do not do so on a balance of probabilities,” he said, according to British newspaper The Independent. He also argued that the High Court judge failed to carry out a “full” analysis of the evidence regarding whether life support should continue.

Bruno Quintavalle, who filed a complaint while acting on behalf of the boy’s parents, said the circumstances of the case were never considered by an English court.

Quintavalle said it is “extremely serious” for the court to “declare, in the absence of any certainty, that death has occurred.”

“If he is pronounced dead but is not dead, the consequences could not be more serious,” he said, according to Christian Concern.

Declaring death without a brainstem test to confirm the allegation would broaden the legal definition of death and impair the authority of Parliament, he said. Quintavalle said the criminal standard of proof, beyond a reasonable doubt, is a better standard for such cases.

Archie’s sister, Lauren, created an Instagram page under the name “SpreadThePurpleWave” to follow his situation. More than 89,000 people have signed a petition in support of giving him more time in medical care, and supporters have given more than $24,000 in donations that could be used to help fund any treatment overseas.

Prior to his injury, Archie was a boxer and gymnast. Famous boxers and gold medal-winning gymnasts have sent him videos of support.

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