Parents of Archie Battersbee lose appeal: 12-year-old can be removed from life support, judges rule

The Court of Appeal is based at the Royal Courts of Justice in London The Court of Appeal is based at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. | Anthony M. from Rome, Italy - Flickr via Wikimedia (CC BY 2.0).

The parents of 12-year-old Archie Battersbee have lost an appeal against a decision to remove their son from life support. 

The U.K. Court of Appeal judges ruled on July 25 that the youngster could be disconnected from a ventilator.

On April 7, 2022, Archie was found unconscious at his home in Essex, England. His mother, Hollie Dance, believed that he may have been attempting an online challenge.

Archie is in the Royal London Hospital, where specialists attempted to carry out brain stem function tests. However, Archie did not respond to a peripheral nerve stimulation test, which precedes a brain stem function test.

MRI scans were performed on May 31, and the High Court ruled on June 13 that it was “highly likely” that Archie was “brain stem dead”. Therefore, life support could be withdrawn.

The boy’s father spent a night in the hospital after being taken ill shortly before the most recent Court of Appeals ruling, reported the Independent. He appeared to recover and was released the following day.

Following this ruling, Bishop John Sherrington of the Diocese of Westminster said: "The sad case of Archie Battersbee's condition is very distressing. The Catholic Church requires moral certainty before it recognizes death."

"We seek and pray that he will continue to be treated with full dignity in his disabled condition with continuation of his life-sustaining treatment in accord with his parent's wishes until there is a clear agreement that his death has occurred."

After the June hearing, Archie’s family decided to appeal the decision of the High Court. A further hearing was held in the High Court from July 11-15. Justice Hayden subsequently ruled that further treatment was "futile" and that withdrawal of life support was in Archie’s best interests.

Removal of life support has been delayed by 48 hours to allow Archie’s family time to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

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