Now Archie's family will consider taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights.
The family of Archie Battersbee, a 12-year-old English boy who sustained “catastrophic brain-damage” while participating in a devious online “challenge,” has lost a second appeal. After three times through the UK courts, judges have decided that it is in Archie’s best interest to be removed from life support. Now, Archie’s mother, Hollie Dance, is exploring the option of taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights in France.
The final appeal in English courts opened with a dramatic start as Archie’s father, Paul Battersbee, was rushed to the hospital with a medical emergency. BBC notes that it is unclear whether Paul suffered from a heart attack or a stroke. The family sought to delay the ruling due to this emergency, but the court claimed it was in Archie’s best interests to proceed on schedule.
Dance called the decision to proceed while Archie’s father was in crisis “insensitive.”
After the court decided to continue the appeal without Archie’s father present, Archie’s legal team attempted to convince the court to adjourn the ruling based on new evidence. They attest that they have video which shows Archie attempting to breath on his own, taken within the last few days. This motion was denied by the court, and then the panel of three judges refused to overturn the previous appeal’s decision.
It is the final ruling of the U.K. court that Archie has shown “no signs of life” and his “every bodily function is now maintained by artificial means.” With this decision, Archie’s life support can be legally removed. The court did, however, order a 48-hour delay to the action, to allow the family time to seek an appeal through the European Court of Human Rights.
It is unclear if Archie’s legal team will decide to pursue an appeal through the European Court, but Hollie Dance has vowed to continue fighting for her son. In a statement released after the appeal, she stated:
“All we have asked for from the beginning is for Archie to be given more time and for Archie’s wishes and ours to be respected. As long as Archie is alive, I will never give up on him — he is too good to give up on.”
Dance went on to reiterate her belief that Archie should be allowed to die, “in God’s way and in God’s time.” She said there was “nothing dignified” about planning her son’s death, and called for more protections and support for parental rights:
“Parents need support, not pressure. It is exhausting what we have been through. We should not have to endlessly battle the hospital in the courts for what we believe is right for Archie. Top judges have told us, however, that this is the law, if this [sic] so, the law must change.”
According to ITV News, outside the court, Hollie said that she felt the court had “silenced” her on Archie’s progression. She said that her lawyers are in possession of evidence which shows that Archie’s condition has been improving, but have not been allowed to present it to the court. She said:
“We’ve been silenced I think for long enough on Archie’s progression, so we will continue this fight and this time I will make sure that Archie’s progression in court is actually stated. As I say, I think we’ve been silenced for too long now. I’ve got video evidence of Archie trying to breathe on Friday and Saturday.”