LONDON – A British judge on Friday rejected a request from the parents of a comatose boy to let them move their son to a hospice when hospital doctors withdraw his life-support treatment.
The parents of Archie Battersbee vowed to fight on. The 12-year-old has been in a coma since early April and doctors believe he is brain dead.
“All our wishes as a family have been denied by the authorities,″ his mother, Hollie Dance said. “We are broken, but we are keeping going, because we love Archie and refuse to give up on him.”
After High Court Judge Lucy Theis rejected the family’s request Friday morning, Archie’s parents asked the Court of Appeal for permission to challenge the ruling. When that court refused to take the case late in the day, they applied to the European Court of Human Rights to intervene.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the ECHR would take the case. It had refused to wade into the court battles earlier this week.
Archie’s care has been the subject of weeks of legal arguments as his parents sought to force the Royal London Hospital to continue life-sustaining treatments after doctors argued there was no chance of recovery and he should be allowed to die.
The family is seeking to move Archie to a hospice after the courts ruled it was in his best interests to end treatment. The hospital said Archie’s condition was so unstable that moving him would hasten his death.
Theis ruled Friday morning that Archie should remain in the hospital while treatment is withdrawn.
“I return to where I started, recognizing the enormity of what lays ahead for Archie’s parents and the family. Their unconditional love and dedication to Archie is a golden thread that runs through this case,″ Theis wrote in her decision. “I hope now Archie can be afforded the opportunity for him to die in peaceful circumstances, with the family who meant so much to him as he clearly does to them.″
The dispute is the latest U.K. case pitting the judgment of doctors against the wishes of families. 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 best interests of the child take primacy over the parents’ right to decide what they believe is best for their children.