LONDON (AP) — A British court has rejected a request from the parents of a comatose boy to allow them to move their son to a hospice when hospital doctors withdraw his life-support treatment.
Barring any further legal action, the decision would open the door for doctors at the Royal London Hospital to end life-sustaining treatments for 12-year-old Archie Battersbee. He has been in a coma since early April and doctors believe he is brain dead.
“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,” High Court Judge Lucy Thies wrote. “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.”
Archie’s care has been the subject of weeks of legal battles as his parents sought to force the hospital to continue life-sustaining treatments and doctors argued there was no chance of recovery and he should be allowed to die.
The family asked for permission to move Archie to a hospice after British courts ruled it was in his best interests to end treatment, and the European Court of Human Rights refused to intervene. The hospital said Archie’s condition was so unstable that moving him would hasten his death.
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 offspring.