Life support

Family vow to appeal after UK court orders life support withdrawn from 12-year-old child

LEICESTER, UK – A family have pledged to appeal a court decision to remove the life support system from a 12-year-old boy, who has been on a ventilator since April.

Archie Battersbee was found unconscious by his mother on April 7. He had a ligature around his head and his family believe he may have been participating in an online challenge when the tragedy happened.


Child doctors at the Royal London Hospital want Archie’s life support removed, saying he is brain dead. On Monday, the High Court ruled that “on a balance of probabilities” Archie was dead, basing its decision on the results of an MRI test.

The case is reminiscent of those of Charlie Gard in 2017 and Alfie Evans in 2018: in both cases, British courts convicted parents attempting to take their child abroad for further treatment against advice from hospital staff. Both children later died.

“I am devastated and extremely disappointed by the judge’s decision after weeks of legal battles as I wanted to be by my baby boy’s bedside,” said Hollie Dance, Archie’s mother.

“Basing this judgment on an MRI test and the fact that he is ‘probably’ dead, is not sufficient. It is believed to be the first time that a person has been declared ‘probable’ to be dead on the basis of an MRI test,” she continued.

“The medical expert’s opinion presented to the court was clear in that the whole concept of ‘brain death’ is now discredited and, in any event, Archie cannot be reliably diagnosed as being in good condition. brain dead. I feel sickened that the hospital and the judge did not consider the family’s wishes,” Dance added.

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Center, called the decision “a devastating moment for Archie and his family”.

“The idea that death can be declared on a balance of probabilities is frankly ridiculous. Life is the most precious gift we have. This decision sets a disturbing and dark precedent. This case has raised important moral questions, legal and medical issues as to when someone died. Archie’s parents do not accept that he is dead and are bravely fighting for his life,” Williams said.

The Christian Legal Center supports the family in the legal battle.

Dance said she doesn’t believe Archie has had enough time to recover.

“From the beginning, I always thought ‘why rush?’ His heart is still beating, he shook my hand, and as his mother, I know he’s still in. Until it’s God’s way, I won’t accept that. it goes away. I know miracles when people come back from brain death,” she said.

“This case raises important moral, legal and medical questions about when a person died. What does today’s decision tell us about the situation of our society? We intend to appeal and will not give up on Archie,” Dance said.

Prior to his accident, Archie had expressed an interest in becoming a Catholic and was baptized in hospital on Easter Sunday. Dance and other family members were baptized the following day.

Follow Charles Collins on Twitter: @CharlesinRome



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