The European Court of Human Rights has rejected an urgent request for further ventilation of a 12-year-old boy in Great Britain who was classified as brain-dead. The court said on Wednesday evening that the parents’ request for an injunction against the planned discontinuation of life support for Archie Battersbee would not be granted.
Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee have been fighting a desperate legal battle for weeks to keep their son Archie alive against doctors’ advice. That’s why they submitted their urgent application to the Strasbourg tribunal on Wednesday, after exhausting all instances in Great Britain.
However, the European Court of Justice declared in the evening that the application was “inadmissible” and that such applications would only be approved in “exceptional cases”.
Archie is in the Royal London Hospital in the British capital. The life-sustaining measures were supposed to end on Wednesday. After the parents’ urgent application in Strasbourg, the clinic management said they would wait for the verdict before taking any further action.
The European Court of Justice’s intervention was based on Article 39 of its statute, which allows it to order “interim measures” in a country if the applicants face “a real risk of irreparable harm” to their lives.
Archie Battersbee has been in a coma patient in a London hospital since April. His doctors have diagnosed the 12-year-old as brain dead. The British judiciary followed this assessment and therefore approved that the boy’s vital functions such as a ventilator and the administration of medication be ended in mid-July.
Supported by a Christian organization, however, his parents fought against this and repeatedly obtained delays in the order through the authorities.
Archie was found unconscious on April 7 and has not regained consciousness since. According to his mother, he had taken part in a competition held on online networks in which he had to strangle himself to the limit.
Before the accident, Archie was an athletic boy who did martial arts, among other things.
According to his family, Archie had become increasingly religious in recent times. This must also be taken into account when deciding whether to continue his treatment, they argue. According to his doctors, his case is hopeless.
“His system, his organs and his heart are failing,” Appeals Judge Andrew McFarlane said on Monday. The judges of Britain’s Supreme Court sent Archie’s parents “great condolences” as they lived through “every parent’s nightmare – the loss of a loved one”.
However, even in this case, the applicable laws would have to be applied.