Parents of boy in life-support battle go to European court

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LONDON (AP) — The family of a comatose British boy at the center of a life-support battle said Wednesday that it has appealed to the European Court of Human Rights in a last-ditch bid to stop a hospital ending his treatment.

Archie Battersbee, 12, was found unconscious at home with a ligature over his head on April 7. His parents believe he may have been taking part in an online challenge that went wrong.

Doctors believe Archie is brain-stem dead and say continued life-support treatment is not in his best interests.

His parents have fought unsuccessfully to get British courts to block the Royal London Hospital turning off the boy’s ventilator and stopping other interventions that are keeping him alive.

Archie’s mother, Hollie Dance, said the family’s lawyers submitted an application to the European human rights court hours before the hospital planned to begin withdrawing Archie’s life support on Wednesday morning.

“We now hope and pray that the ECHR will look favorably on the application,” she said. “We will not give up on Archie until the end.”

She also said the family was considering offers from other countries to treat Archie.

The case is the latest in the U.K. that has pitted the judgment of doctors against the wishes of families. In several cases, including this one, the families have been backed by a religious pressure group, Christian Concern.

Under British law, it is common for courts to intervene when parents and doctors disagree on the treatment of a child. In such cases, the rights of the child take primacy over the parents’ right to decide what’s best for their offspring.

The U.K. Supreme Court said Tuesday that Archie had “no prospect of any meaningful recovery,” and even with continued treatment would die in the next few weeks from organ and heart failure. The judges agreed with a lower court that continuing treatment “serves only to protract his death.”

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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