Death of Archie Battersbee, young British at heart of a legal battle on cessation of care

The 12 -year -old boy had been immersed in a deep coma since April 7. His mother had fought against a court decision asking for the cessation of care, the medical profession believing that he had no hope of recovery.

Le Monde with AFP

At the end of a bitter legal battle led by his parents against the health system, Archie Battersbee, the 12 -year -old British in a state of brain for four months, died on Saturday August 6 after stopping care who kept him alive.

“Archie died at 12:15 pm today,” said Hollie Dance, the mother of the young boy plunged into a coma, in a London hospital since April, on television. The treatments that maintained the boy alive had been interrupted about two hours earlier, after his parents had exhausted all the remedies, before the British and European justice, to oppose the cessation of care and then to request his transfer in a palliative care institution.

Archie Battersbee had been found unconscious at his home on April 7 and has not regained consciousness since. According to his mother, he would have participated in a challenge on social networks consisting in retaining his breathing until fainting.

Immersed in a deep coma, the boy had no reaction, could not breathe without assistance, and the medical profession considered that he had no hope of recovery. On the contrary, his parents claimed to have noticed signs of life.

The appeals of the family rejected by the justice

On May 31, British justice had declared him dead, a decision against which his parents, refusing that the hospital disconnect the machines that keep him alive, had appealed.

Tuesday August 2, the British Supreme Court rejected their request to continue the treatments. On Wednesday, two hours before the programmed end of the boy’s life, the parents again appealed, this time before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), postponing the fateful deadline. But in the evening, it had rejected their appeal, deeming their request inadmissible.

His parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Batteursbee, who are supported by a Christian organization, had to resolve to let their son die. They had initiated final recourse to justice so that the child leaves the Royal London Hospital of Whitechapel, in eastern London, and was transferred to a palliative care establishment for the cessation of care, in vain.

“By taking into account the wishes of the family and their motivations, the equipment in care house, what Achie wanted, the risks of a transfer and her health more and more fragile (…) I think That it is in his interest to stay in the hospital for stopping care, “said London High Court Judge on Friday. The hospital considered its condition too unstable for a transfer, which could “most likely speed up the degradation feared by the parents”.

The United Kingdom has already been marked by two other comparable cases. In April 2018, a 23 -month -old child, Alfie Evans, suffering from a rare neurodegenerative disease, died after a long legal fight of his parents against the cessation of care. His parents had notably received the support of Pope Francis, who had launched several calls for the keeper of the boy. In 2017, Charlie Gard, suffering from a rare genetic disease, died shortly before his first anniversary, after stopping artificial ventilation, despite the multiplication of appeals by his parents.

/Media reports.