Case moves to the UK (and beyond). Parents appealed to the UN to keep the machines on, but the doctors won the case in British justice
Holly Dance and Paul Bettersby lost their battle with the British courts who held them in hopes of staying close to their brain-dead son Archie. This Saturday, the couple faces the inevitable outcome they’ve been fighting so hard for in recent months: they say goodbye to their 12-year-old son for the last time.
Doctors at the Royal London Hospital in London, where the child has been hospitalized since April after participating in deadly challenge online, support machines are disabled this Saturday, proceeds to sky newsin which Archie’s parents are mentioned.
“Archie fought to the end and I’m so proud to be his mother,” Holly said. Ella Rose Carter, the fiancée of Archie’s older brother Tom, told reporters that doctors stopped giving the boy medication at 10:00 a.m. and that his levels remained “stable for two hours” until he was removed by fans. Death was pronounced at 12:15.
“We hope that no family should go through what we went through. This is barbaric,” complained Ella Rose.
The denouement comes after the parents have exhausted all avenues to delay the decision of the doctors, who argued it was not in the boy’s “best interest” to extend life-sustaining treatment.
It was Archie’s mother who found him unconscious, with a “bandage” around his neck, when he returned home from work on April 7 this year. Holly Dance believes that this was the result of a viral challenge from the social network Tik Tok, known as the “Blackout Challenge”, which consists in squeezing the neck until unconscious due to lack of oxygen.
The child was then transferred to the Royal London Hospital, where the diagnosis of brain death set off a lengthy legal battle between the hospital and Archie’s parents, who refused to accept the doctors’ recommendation to turn off the auxiliary machines. the child’s vital signs were preserved. Holly and Paul claimed that their son, despite being unconscious, was still alive, and they wanted him to remain that way, connected to a ventilator and feeding tube, until his “natural death”.
According to court documents, the mother said she felt Archie squeeze her arm at one point and breathe without needing a ventilator. But doctors say they have never seen “any sign of life” in the baby, even during the most painful procedures.
Long legal battle between doctors and family
Faced with the intransigence of the hospital, the parents turned to international bodies, namely the UN, which wrote a letter to the doctors of this hospital urging them to leave the equipment turned on. However, British justice rejected the UN’s appeal, arguing that the body was not binding on national law, and after several inquiries and deliberations, the judges gave the doctors the right, considering that life support would not be in the “best interest” of the child.
It was then that Archie’s parents appealed the decision to the Supreme Court, which ensured that the case would be heard on an “urgent” basis. The decision was announced the same day, but it was not the response the couple had hoped for. In a statement, the judges say that despite “great sympathy for the situation,” the parents have exhausted their “legal rights” to ventilate the child.
“The Commission comes to this conclusion with a heavy heart,” the statement said, explaining that even if life-sustaining treatment continues, Archie will die within the next few weeks from organ failure and heart failure.
Holly and Paul then petitioned the European Court of Human Rights to rule on the case in hopes of setting aside the hospital’s and British justice’s decision. But the European Court refused to “intervene in the decisions of national courts.”
Delaying the last chance, Archie’s parents also petitioned the Supreme Court to transfer the boy to a palliative care unit, justifying their request with the wish that their son had a “dignified death” with his family. Once again, British justice sided with doctors, who warned of a “significant risk” of moving the child – an argument that influenced the decision of the Supreme Court. Judge Justice Theis justified this decision by saying that the transfer was not in Archie’s “best interests”.
Thus ended a long legal battle between the Archie family, British doctors and justice.
Speaking to Sky News on Friday night, Holly Dance said the hospital “made it very clear” that “there are no more options” to delay the inevitable. “I did everything I promised my son,” he complained.