UKJustice ruled, young Archie may be disconnected by his doctors
The 12-year-old boy is brain dead, but his parents, supported by a Christian organization, refuse to allow treatment to be stopped. His fate unleashed passions across the Channel.
British courts on Monday rejected a last-minute appeal against the interruption of treatment for a 12-year-old boy who was brain-dead, according to doctors. The struggle of his parents, supported by a Christian organisation, who say they want to give him every chance they can and have seen signs of life, is sparking great interest in the UK.
Archie Battersbee, 12, has been in a coma in a London hospital since April. He is considered in a vegetative state by doctors and the British court authorized the hospital in mid-July to end the care that kept him alive. Although treatments ended at 2pm on Monday, the parents filed a last-minute appeal with the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which on Friday urged the British government to “refrain from taking Archie any life-sustaining treatment” while he can study the file.
The government does not want to get involved in the case
The government, which refuses to get involved in the case, has urgently transferred the request from the United Nations to the British courts. But the Court of Appeal on Monday refused to delay the interruption of care beyond 12 noon on Tuesday, granting a short delay so the family can consider other solutions. “Your system, your organs and your heart are shutting down,” said Judge Andrew McFarlane.
The case of young Archie puts its finger on the thorny issue of passive euthanasia. On social media, he unleashes the passions, the pros and cons of the teenager’s artificial life support being torn apart by interposed tweets.
A “flagrant” violation of international law
The parents’ lawyer, Edward Devereux, had considered before the decision that the rejection of the request of this UN committee – whose convention was signed and ratified by the British government almost fifteen years ago – constituted “a flagrant and unacceptable violation of international law”. But the treaty “is not part of UK law … and it is inappropriate for this Court to apply an international treaty not incorporated (in law) in its decision-making process,” the judge argued.
Archie Battersbee was found unconscious at his home on April 7 and has not regained consciousness since. According to his mother Hollie Dance, he took part in an online challenge to hold his breath until he passed out. For Hollie Dance, stopping treatment is a decision of “extraordinary cruelty”. “Archie is entitled to have decisions about his life and death … reviewed by an international human rights body,” she said.