In the battle for their dying son Archie, the twelve-year-old boy’s parents suffered another defeat in England. The appeals court in London on Friday evening rejected a request from the family to transfer the terminally ill Archie from a hospital to a hospice. The devices currently keeping the boy alive will soon be shut down.
The Court of Appeal thus confirmed an earlier decision by the British Supreme Court: It was in Archie’s interest that life support measures be discontinued in the hospital rather than in another setting, the judge there said in her reasoning. After the further defeat in the evening, the family immediately announced that they would contact the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) again. The Christian Concern organization, which supports Archie’s parents, said it wanted to have the ruling of the Supreme Court in Strasbourg reviewed.
In coma since April
Archie has been in a coma since April. He suffered serious brain injuries in an accident at home in Southend-on-Sea, believed to be during an internet game. The treating doctors see no chance of recovery. The UK’s highest court had backed the doctors’ decision to let Archie die. A final appeal by the parents to the ECtHR in Strasbourg was unsuccessful in this case.
Archie’s parents then attempted to transfer their son to a hospice so Archie could spend his last hours in a quieter, more peaceful environment. However, the hospital declined: “Archie is in such an unstable condition that there is significant risk even if he is turned in his hospital bed, which should be done as part of his ongoing care,” the hospital operator said. Therefore, if he was transferred by ambulance to a completely different area, his condition would most likely deteriorate rapidly.
“Fight to the Bitter End”
The London clinic had already announced several times that the measures would be halted, but these were repeatedly postponed due to the protracted legal dispute over Archie’s fate. In their “fight to the bitter end,” the twelve-year-old’s family is assisted by the conservative Christian Concern organization, which provides legal assistance in selected cases. She is controversial for speaking out against the recognition of homosexuality and transsexuality.
The legal wrangling in the Archie case was even a problem in the Vatican. An opinion piece appeared on the official Vatican platform “Vatican News” advocating the shutdown of the devices in the Archie case. A society must protect life – as well as the weak and fragile – it says.