UK Top Court Won't Intervene Over Boy's Life Support

Parents of Archie Battersbee, 12, don't want doctors to take him off ventilator
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2022 10:12 AM CDT
Updated Jul 28, 2022 2:10 PM CDT
Parents Losing Fight to Keep Son on Life Support
The mother of Archie Battersbee, Hollie Dance, speaks to the media outside the Royal Courts of Justice, London, Monday, July 25, 2022.   (Dominic Lipinski/PA via AP)

Update: The parents of a comatose 12-year-old boy in Britain have lost a key battle in their fight to keep their son on life support—they failed on Thursday to convince the UK Supreme Court to intervene, reports the AP. Doctors at a London hospital say Archie Battersbee has no hope of recovery, but his parents disagree. Their last hope may lie with a European court. Our story from Tuesday follows:

A court in Britain has ruled against the parents of a comatose 12-year-old boy fighting to keep him on life support. The parents of Archie Battersbee disagree with doctors that their son's case is hopeless, but a court on Monday agreed with the doctors, reports the BBC. However, the boy's treatment will continue for at least another two days as his parents take the case to the European Court of Human Rights. Archie's mother, Hollie Dance, discovered her son unconscious at home on April 7, and the case has drawn much attention in part because she thinks he suffocated while taking part in an online fad known as the "blackout challenge," per the Washington Post.

Multiple children's deaths in the US and elsewhere have been linked to the challenge, and TikTok has been sued by parents. In the UK case, Archie has never regained consciousness at Royal London Hospital, though Dance insists that he has squeezed her hand and shown others signs of life. “The system shouldn’t be allowed to do this to people,” she said Monday after the court ruled against her. “All I’ve asked for from day one is time. … That’s my little boy, and I’ll fight as long as I possibly can.” The boy's father, 57-year-old Paul Battersbee, suffered a suspected heart attack on the way to court on Monday and ended up hospitalized, per the UK Times. The court declined to delay its ruling.

story continues below

One of the three judges in Monday's decision, Sir Andrew McFarlane, said Monday that the boy's case presented an "awful predicament" and that the court was sympathetic. But he said the court agreed with doctors that keeping Archie alive was not in his "best interests." McFarland cited a photograph of Archie in wide circulation in the UK, one that shows him before the incident in good health. “Archie is no longer the boy in the photograph," said the judge, per the Guardian. "He is someone whose every bodily function is now maintained by artificial means.” (Read more life support stories.)

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