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Judges reject Archie Battersbee’s appeal about the decision to stop life support

September 1, 20224 Mins Read

Archie BattersbeeThe ability of the parents of a 12-year-old child who sustained a “catastrophic” brain injury to appeal the decision to stop his life support has been denied.

The decision of a high court judge to reject the parents of Archie Battersbee’s request to be allowed to die a “natural” death had been made in the child’s best interests, according to three justices sitting at the court of appeal in central London on Monday.

However, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee from Southend-on-Sea in Essex will continue to fight in court to prevent their son’s life support from being turned off by medical staff at the Royal London hospital in east London.

The parents of Archie Battersbee

To give Archie’s parents time to submit an interim remedy application to the European court of human rights, the court of appeal judges postponed their decision for 48 hours, or until 2 p.m. on Wednesday.

The parent’s attorney, Edward Devereux QC, also stated that they were considering applying for a new hearing at the high court based on “new evidence” despite the appeal court’s ruling. He testified in court that Dance had observed her ventilator-connected baby attempt to breathe on his own on Friday and Saturday.

Sir Andrew McFarlane

Devereux had asked Sir Andrew McFarlane and two other judges to postpone the decision on whether to grant permission to appeal because Archie’s father had been admitted to the hospital on Monday morning with what was thought to be a heart attack or stroke. However, Sir Andrew McFarlane had earlier rejected this request.

Battersbee suffered a heart attack last year, according to McFarlane, who expressed “great sympathy” for his predicament but noted that it was impossible to predict when he would be able to appear in court and that postponing the judgment would not be in Archie’s best interests. Dance subsequently claimed that she believed the judges’ refusal to adjourn the session was “insensitive.”

Archie’s mother

Archie’s mother thinks he choked while participating in the “blackout challenge,” a popular social media craze, roughly three months ago, causing brain damage. Even though Dance claimed her son had squeezed her hand when she was by his bedside, medical personnel had reportedly observed “no evidence of life” in him, according to McFarlane, who delivered the judgment denying permission to appeal.

According to the head of the family division, Devereux’s main contention was that Mr. Justice Hayden had made his decision based solely on Archie’s medical needs rather than his larger interests, which included his wishes to be kept alive in such a situation, as previously expressed to his family, and his religious beliefs.

While it is regrettably true that the medical evidence eventually determined the judge’s best interests ruling, McFarlane noted that Hayden had “obviously taken full consideration of the competing concerns.”

All of those aspects, but particularly Archie’s preferences, emotions, and religious convictions, were inadequate to stop the determination that keeping Archie on life support was no longer in his best interests. He is only weeks away from passing away due to further deterioration, organ failure, and heart failure. Only when it is in the patient’s best interest may consent to be given medical treatment.

The boy’s picture

Archie Battersbee is no longer the boy in the picture, McFarlane said, referring to a picture of Archie taken before the brain injury that has been featured in the case’s extensive media coverage. He now relies on artificial means to sustain every physical function.

Hayden had made a “conscientious” decision without making any fundamental mistakes, according to McFarlane, who called the situation a “really tragic case,” and an appeal would “not have a real hope of success.”

Archie’s life support could be turned off, according to Hayden, who was the second high court judge to rule in that favor. Mrs. Justice Arbuthnot delivered the first such judgment, but a court of appeal judges upheld a challenge brought by Archie’s parents and sent the matter to the high court for further consideration.

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