The “devastated” mother of Archie Battersbee has said she will appeal after a judge ruled treatment for her brain-damaged son should stop.
Archie, 12, was found with a ligature around his neck in April after reportedly taking part in a viral online game called the "blackout challenge”.
The talented gymnast has spent eight weeks in an induced coma.
High Court judge Mrs Justice Arbuthnot on Monday ruled he was dead and said doctors could lawfully stop treating him.
His mother Hollie Dance, 46, said she is “extremely disappointed” by the outcome and plans to appeal the decision
“I am devastated and extremely disappointed by the judge’s ruling after weeks of fighting a legal battle when I wanted to be at my little boy’s bedside,” said Ms Dance in a statement after the ruling.
“This case raises the significant moral, legal and medical questions as to when a person is dead. What does this ruling today tell us about where our society is at? We intend to appeal and will not give up on Archie.”
Ms Dance added: “Basing this judgment on an MRI test and that he is ‘likely’ to be dead, is not good enough. This is believed to be the first time that someone has been declared ‘likely’ to be dead based on an MRI test.
“The medical expert opinion presented in court was clear in that the whole concept of ‘brain death’ is now discredited, and in any event, Archie cannot be reliably diagnosed as brain-dead.”
Mrs Justice Arbuthnot concluded the 12-year-old had died “at noon on 31st May 2022”, shortly after the most recent MRI scans had been taken.
“I find that irreversible cessation of brain stem function has been conclusively established,” she said in a written ruling.
“I give permission to the medical professionals at the Royal London Hospital to cease to ventilate mechanically Archie Battersbee; to extubate Archie Battersbee; to cease the administration of medication to Archie Battersbee and not to attempt any cardio or pulmonary resuscitation on Archie Battersbee when cardiac output ceases or respiratory effort ceases.”
“The steps I have set out above are lawful.”
The judge went on: “If Archie remains on mechanical ventilation, the likely outcome for him is sudden death and the prospects of recovery are nil. He has no pleasure in life and his brain damage is irrecoverable.
“His position is not going to improve. The downside of such a hurried death is the inability of his loving and beloved family to say goodbye.”
The judge said, had she not concluded Archie is dead, she would have ruled that it was not in his best interests to continue to receive life-support treatment.
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said: “This ruling sets a troubling and dark precedent. This case has raised significant moral, legal and medical questions as to when a person is dead.”
She added: “We will continue to stand with the family and continue to pray for a miracle.”