The tragedy of Archie Battersbee

Aug 5, 2022 by

by Kevin Yuill, spiked:

Withdrawing his care is the right decision, but the courts’ reasoning has worrying implications.

The case of 12-year-old Archie Battersbee is complex, sensitive and tragic. At the time of writing, Battersbee is on life support at the Royal London Hospital, where he has been since April.

Back in April, Archie sustained brain damage when he choked while taking part in a viral social-media challenge. He has not regained consciousness since then. Staff at the Royal London Hospital maintain that there is no prospect of him regaining consciousness. And because he cannot breathe for himself, they say he has already died.

A judge concluded that Archie died at noon on 31 May, based on MRI scans taken that day. The Court of Appeal, the High Court, the Supreme Court and, on Wednesday, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) all concurred. His parents, Holly Dance and Paul Battersbee, believe that although he is not conscious, he is still alive. And so they want him to be kept on a ventilator and a feeding tube until he dies a ‘natural’ death. They are currently seeking legal permission to move him to a hospice.

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