Archie’s family given permission to appeal life support ruling

20 June 2022

The parents of 12-year-old Archie Battersbee have today (20 June) been granted permission to take their case to the Court of Appeal.

Last week, Mrs Justice Arbuthnot gave permission for a London hospital to remove the life-support for Archie.

Handing down judgment in the Family Division of the High Court, Mrs Justice Arbuthnot, ruled that “on the balance of probabilities” Archie had died. On that basis, she authorised:

“Medical professionals at the Royal London Hospital (1) to cease to ventilate mechanically Archie Battersbee; (2) to extubate Archie Battersbee; (3) to cease the administration of medication to Archie Battersbee and (4) not to attempt any cardio or pulmonary resuscitation on Archie Battersbee when cardiac output ceases or respiratory effort ceases.

This is believed to be the first time that someone has been declared ‘likely’ to be dead, based on an MRI scan.

However, after receiving the judgment, his parents vowed to appeal.

At a High Court hearing today, the family’s barrister, Edward Devereux QC, argued that evidence should instead show ‘beyond reasonable doubt’, as in criminal proceedings, that Archie is dead, rather than using a balance of probabilities test.

Archie’s family is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre.

‘This has raised significant moral, legal and medical questions’

Commenting on the hearing today, Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, commented: “A ruling that says death can be declared on the balance of probabilities sets a troubling precedent for our society and must be appealed.

“This case is the first of its kind in an English court and has raised significant moral, legal and medical questions as to when a person is dead.

“Archie’s parents believe that the time and manner of his death should be determined by God and claim a right to pray for a miracle until and unless that happens. That belief must be respected. The ideology of ‘dignity in death’, meaning a planned time of death as fixed and carried out by the doctors, should not be brutally imposed on families who do not believe in it.

“We will continue to stand with the family as they appeal the ruling and continue to pray for a miracle.”

‘This is a fight for his life’

Hollie Dance, mother of Archie, spoke to BBC Breakfast ahead of the permission hearing. She told them: “He’s in there. It’s just physically, for whatever reason, whether it’s locked-in syndrome, whether he’s paralysed and there’s an injury that’s not been looked into, I don’t know, but I feel inside he’s in there.

“Inside, I’m broken, but I’ve had to go into fight or flight, I’ve got no choice. I haven’t got time to think about my feelings or my emotions at the minute because this is the fight for Archie’s life. I can deal with and address my emotions after this battle. At this minute, I can’t let my guard down for a second.”

20 June 2022
BBC Breakfast

Find out more about Archie Battersbee
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