A High Court judge has ruled that doctors can lawfully stop providing life-support treatment to a 12-year-old boy who suffered a “catastrophic” brain injury three months ago, after reviewing evidence.
Doctors treating Archie Battersbee say continued treatment is not in his best interests and should end.
Mr Justice Hayden, who reviewed evidence at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court earlier this week, on Friday concluded that ending treatment was in Archie’s best interests.
He described what had happened to Archie as a “tragedy of immeasurable dimensions”.
Another High Court judge, Mrs Justice Arbuthnot, had earlier concluded that Archie was dead.
But Court of Appeal judges upheld a challenge, made by Archie’s parents, to decisions taken by Mrs Justice Arbuthnot and said evidence should be reviewed.
Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, have told judges they think he is “brain-stem dead” and say continued life support treatment is not in his best interests.
Lawyers representing the Royal London Hospital’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, have asked for decisions about what moves are in Archie’s best interests.
Archie’s mother has told how she found him unconscious with a ligature over his head on April 7 and thinks he might have been taking part in an online challenge.
He has not regained consciousness.