LONDON — The family of a 12-year-old boy who has been in a coma for four months expect a London hospital to start withdrawing life-saving treatment on Saturday after his parents exhausted their legal options in a battle for his care.
Archie Battersbee’s mother, Hollie Dance, said hospital officials had informed the family they would suspend the boy’s treatment at 10am. British courts on Friday rejected the family’s request to transfer Archie to a hospice, and the European Court of Human Rights declined for a second time to intervene in the case.
Dance told Britain’s Sky News there was nothing else the family could do and were “rather broken” after the ordeal which began on April 7 when Archie was found unconscious.
“I did everything I promised my little boy I would do,” she said in tears.
The Royal London Hospital, where Archie was being treated, did not confirm Dance’s statement.
Archie’s care was the subject of weeks of legal arguments as his parents sought to force the hospital to continue with life-saving treatments and doctors argued there was no chance of recovery and that he should be allowed to die.
The family have sought permission to move Archie to a hospice after UK courts ruled it was in his best interest to end treatment. The hospital said Archie’s condition was so unstable that moving him would hasten his death.
On Friday, High Court Judge Lucy Theis dismissed the family’s request, saying Archie should remain in hospital while treatment is stopped.
“I come back to where I started, acknowledging the enormity of what lies ahead for Archie’s parents and family. Their unconditional love and dedication to Archie is a golden thread that runs through this matter,” Thies wrote. in his decision “I hope now that Archie will have the opportunity to die in peaceful circumstances, with the family that meant so much to him that he clearly does for them.”
The dispute is the latest UK case pitting the judgment of doctors against the will of families. Under UK law, it is common for the courts to intervene when parents and doctors disagree over a child’s medical treatment. In such cases, the best interests of the child take precedence over the parents’ right to decide what they think is best for their offspring.