Archie Battersbee, 12, dies after life support ends
Archie Battersbee, a 12-year-old boy in London who had been in a coma for four months expired after doctors ended the life-sustaining treatments that his family had fought to continue, last Saturday
Archie Battersbee, the 12-year-old boy from the U.K., passed away at 12:15 P.M., about two hours after the hospital withdrew treatment when his parents asked for it to continue. The British courts told that family that both requests to extend treatment and move Archie to a hospice were not in their choice.
“I’m the proudest mom in the world,” said Dance after she saw her son off. Such a beautiful baby, and he was fighting until he began to bleed again.
This is the latest in a series of very public cases in which parents and doctors have argued over who has the greater expertise to make decisions about the medical care of a child. This debate has sparked a conversation about whether there are other ways to settle such disagreements aside from going to court.
Archie Battersbee was found unconscious with a ligature wrapped around his head on April 7th, which the parents believe was the result of an online challenge that went wrong.
Archie died soon after the accident and doctors recommended to end his artificial respiration and other life support treatments that were keeping him alive. But the family opposed the move, saying Archie had shown signs of life.
For weeks, Archie’s parents were fighting to keep their son alive and the hospital was fighting to let them die. The doctors argued that there was no hope of recovery and Archie should be allowed to give up one day.
After Archie’s condition worsened, the family sought permission to move him to a hospice. The hospital had concerns that moving Archie Battersbee would result in his death sooner rather than later.
Lucy Theis rejected the decision of the family to take Archie Battersbee off life support.
“Their unconditional love and dedication to Archie is a golden thread that runs through this case,” Judge Theis wrote in her decision. “I hope now Archie can be afforded the opportunity for him to die in peaceful circumstances, with the family who meant so much to him as he clearly does to them.”
That ruling was carried out Saturday after the U.K. Court of Appeal and the European Court of Human Rights refused to take up the case.
Archie seemed to be stabilized for about two hours and the medical staff discontinued the medications. After that, Archie Battersbee increasingly demonstrated increased agitation until he ultimately died from his brain injury.
A hospital spokesperson expressed their condolences and gratitude to the doctors and nurses who helped Archie Battersbee.
The care they gave the patient was of a high quality, with extraordinary compassion. The case not only affected the family and their carers but also touched the hearts of many across the country.
Some disputes in which doctors disagree with the wishes of families have been widely discussed, such as this year’s legal battle over Charlie Gard, an infant with a rare genetic disorder. The parents unsuccessfully fought for him to have experimental treatment before he died.
In the United Kingdom, when parents are in disagreement with doctors on how to care for their child, courts decide what treatment is best. The best interests of the child take priority over the parents’ opinions.
Professor Ilora Finlay of Cardiff University this week praised the Conservative Government for proving that the adversarial court process isn’t efficient or helpful in resolving disputes and trusts that they will hold an inquiry.