The mother of a comatose boy in the UK says the hospital will soon end treatment


LONDON – The family of a 12-year-old boy who has been in a coma for four months expects a London hospital to begin withdrawing life-sustaining treatment on Saturday after his parents exhausted their legal options in a battle over his care.

Archie Battersbee’s mother, Hollie Dance, said hospital officials informed the family they would discontinue the boy’s treatment at 6 p.m. 10. The British courts on Friday rejected the family’s request to transfer Archie to a hospice, and the European Court of Human Rights refused to intervene in the case for the second time.

Dance told Britain’s Sky News there was nothing else the family could do and she was “pretty devastated” after the ordeal, which began on April 7 when Archie was found unconscious.

“I have done everything I promised my little boy I would do,” she said through tears.

The Royal London Hospital, where Archie was treated, has not confirmed Dance’s statement.

Archie’s care became the subject of weeks of legal arguments as his parents tried 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. The hospital said Archie’s condition was so unstable that moving him would hasten his death.

On Friday, Supreme Court Justice Lucy Theis rejected the family’s request, saying Archie should remain in hospital while treatment was withdrawn.

“I return to where I started and recognize the enormity of what lies ahead for Archie’s parents and family. Their unconditional love and dedication to Archie is a golden thread that runs through this case,” Thies wrote in his decision . “I now hope that Archie can be given the opportunity to die in peaceful circumstances with the family that meant as much to him as he clearly does to them.”

The dispute is the latest British case to pit doctors’ judgment against families’ wishes. Under UK law, it is common for the courts to intervene when parents and doctors disagree about a child’s medical treatment. In such cases, the best interests of the child override the parents’ right to decide what they think is best for their offspring.

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