The life support for Archie Battersbee, the 12-year-old British boy, was due to be discontinued on Saturday after his parents lost their legal battle. The courts said earlier this year that keeping Archie alive was futile.
Hollie Dance, Archie’s mother and Paul Battersbee, Archie’s father also lost the legal battle where they appealed the court to allow them to move their child to a hospice.
The case of Archie Battersbee and his parents’ legal fight to keep him on life support has reignited the debate regarding who gets to decide when life support ends in such cases.
The case gained national attention in the UK with many praying for Archie to pull through.
Here’s a timeline of events:
- April 7, 2022: Hollie Dance, Archie’s mother, found Archie at their home unconscious with ligature marks around his neck. Archie was a 12-year-old boy who was interested in mixed martial arts and gymnastics. According to the BBC, Dance says that her son may have been attempting an online challenge.
- April 8: Archie is admitted to The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel. He received treatment until his life support was withdrawn.
- April 26: The Royal London Hospital falls under the ambit of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). It is managed by the Barts Health NHS Trust. Doctors told Archie’s parents that he may be brain stem dead due to the magnitude of his injury. Doctors wanted to conduct a brain stem death test but the boy’s family did not agree. The Barts Health Trust moved the High Court.
- May 13: Justice Arbuthnot says that the hospital should conduct the brain stem death test.
- May 16: Doctors try to conduct the brain stem function tests but they fail as they found that Archie was not responding to a peripheral nerve stimulation test which is required ahead of a brain stem test.
- June 8: Another hearing is held to determine whether the life support for Archie should continue
- June 13: A judge rules that Archie died on May 31 during his MRI Scan and the life-support treatment can be stopped.
- June 20: Hollie Dance, supported by the campaign group Christian Concern, asks the Court of Appeal to reconsider the case.
- June 29: The Court of Appeals says another hearing is necessary to determine what steps should be taken in Archie’s best interest
- July 11: Justice Hayden takes note of the evidence given to him and holds a new hearing
- July 15: Justice Hayden also says that the life-support treatment is futile and should cease.
- July 25: The High Court judgement is upheld by the Court of Appeals
- July 28: The Supreme Court declines to intervene in the case and extends support to the Court of Appeals ruling.
- July 29: Paul Battersbee, Archie’s father and his mother, move the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (UNRPD).
- July 30: The UN committee urges the Uk government to delay the withdrawal of life support
- August 1: The Court of Appeal declines to postpone withdrawal of treatment
- August 3: The European Court of Human Rights declines Archie’s family’s appeal to challenge the previous ruling of the Court of Appeals
- August 4: Archie’s parent appeal to the court to allow their son to move to a hospice for end of life care.
- August 5: The High Court declines the parents’ appeal to move their son to a hospice
- August 6: At 10am (local time), Archie’s life support is expected to be withdrawn
Archie’s case drew sympathy from former US president Donald Trump and Pope Francis but in the UK some challenged the Christian group that was funding their legal costs and the UK media outlets for insensitive coverage.
it isn’t just what’s happening to his brain, which is catastrophic. His other organs are failing & becoming necrotic. I’ve just watched a Sky News clip of a presenter saying Archie’s mum thinks he can be saved in Turkey or Japan and the presenter just reports it like it’s a fact.
— Nicola Slawson (@Nicola_Slawson) August 3, 2022
Freelance journalist Nicola Slawson said that groups with vested interests as well as the media chose not to read the court orders where it was mentioned that Archie’s ‘organs are failing and becoming necrotic’, which is why the court said it would be futile to continue with the treatment.
“I still in my heart and in my gut believe that Archie can pull through this,” Hollie Dance told Sky News a day before Archie’s life support was to be withdrawn.
At the time of writing this report, there is no official confirmation whether his life support was withdrawn.
(with inputs from BBC, AFP and Sky News)