Archie Battersbee, the “plug” will be unplugged today at 11

It is very likely that today is the day when the treatments that keep little Archie Battersbee alive will be suspended. The 12-year-old has been in a coma since April 7, when he was found unconscious at his home with a rope around his neck at the top of a flight of stairs. He has since been hospitalized at the Royal London Hospital.

That day, Archie suffered a catastrophic disaster brain injury. Her parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbeethey claim that, although he is not conscious, Archie is still alive, and they would like that ventilation and feeding were not suspended until “natural” death.

But doctors and courts have always thought differently. Royal London Hospital staff say that because Archie has no prospect of regaining consciousness and cannot breathe on his own, he is ‘dead’. A judge concluded that he died at noon on May 31stbased on the MRI and, on appeal, another judge ruled that continuous ventilation was not in his “best interest”.

They decided it despite being aware of the desperation of their parents. Judge Justice Arbuthnot, after visiting the baby in the hospital, wrote: “A lovely looking boy. Archie seemed very quiet despite being connected to a number of medical tubes and equipment. From what I know, his mother has hardly ever moved away from him in the eight weeks since the accident. I saw the nightstand turned into a single bed he slept on. The devotion of his family is extraordinary, their dignity is evident. This visit allowed me to keep Archie in mind. He has become much more real to me ».

The courts have agreed with Archie’s doctors that although the child is unable to feel pain, vital treatment is causing unwarranted physical deterioration that, in the end, threatens his dignity and, since “there is no hope of recovery,” it is not in his best interest to continue. In other words, as High Court Judge Hayden put it: the treatment now “only serves to prolong his death, not being able to prolong his life.”

Yesterday a last-minute appeal by the parents to the Supreme Court failed. Now the Christian Legal Center, which supports the Battersbee family, is preparing an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights. If he doesn’t do this by 9am today, treatments that keep Archie alive will be suspended at 11am.

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