UK court denies rights of parents to keep son on life support

by Seth Udinski

Seth Udinski, FISM News


A court in the United Kingdom has ruled against parents who sought to prevent a hospital from taking their son off life support, according to reports that surfaced Monday.

On Monday, the Court of Appeal in London stated they would not allow another hearing for parents Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee as they sought to block the hospital’s action and save the life of their 12-year-old son Archie. The appeals court, rather, ruled in favor of the High Court of Justice Family Division, which initially ruled that the hospital housing the young boy had the right to take him off life support without his parent’s consent.

The court’s decision comes despite video evidence that Dance and her lawyers say shows that Archie had tried to breathe on his own, independent of the ventilator he is currently on.

In April, Archie was discovered unconscious with a “catastrophic hypoxic-ischemic brain injury” and with what appeared to be a cord tied around his neck. Reports have not specified if there was foul play afoot, if it was an attempted suicide, or if it was some kind of accident.

The case for Archie’s life has many layers to it, but the most intriguing is the question of quality of life. The hospital has argued that Archie’s damage is irreversible, and because of this it would be more humane to take him off life support and let him die.

On the other hand, Archie’s parents argue that there is fundamentally no difference between taking their son off life support and murdering him. They believe that, as long as Archie is still alive, he deserves the same effort the hospital staff would give to anyone else who is alive and has a chance of survival.

Archie’s parents have reiterated their belief that there is a chance that their son will survive.

“All we have asked for from the beginning is for Archie to be given more time and for Archie’s wishes and ours to be respected,” Dance said. “As long as Archie is alive, I will never give up on him. He is too good to give up on. When he is to die, we believe it should be in God’s way and in God’s time. What is the rush? Why is the hospital and the courts so keen to push this through as fast as possible?”

Hollie further argued against the hospital’s stance about removing Archie from life support, saying it is no different from euthanasia.

I don’t believe there is anything ‘dignified’ about planning Archie’s death. For me, this would be the most traumatic outcome. Parents need support, not pressure. It is exhausting what we have been through. We should not have to endlessly battle the hospital in the courts for what we believe is right for Archie…We disagree with the idea of dignity in death. Enforcing it on us and hastening his death for that purpose is profoundly cruel. It is for God to decide what should happen to Archie, including if, when, and how he should die.