UK, the London Court confirms: “Switch off the 12-year-old in a coma” | The father has a heart attack
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UK, the London Court confirms: “Switch off the 12-year-old in a coma” | The father has a heart attack

A new painful episode on the case of little Archie Battersbee. The family continues to oppose his death by doctors and judges and will appeal to Strasbourg

It did not even take a (presumed) heart attack suffered by his father to convince the British judges to give more time to Archie Battersbee, yet another child in a coma to whom doctors and courts in the United Kingdom believe it is time to “switch off”, even against the desperate opposition of the family. This time the fate of a 12-year-old is at stake, whose recovery prospects are now considered to be zero by specialists; and on which the London Court of Appeals rejected an extreme appeal by the parents, after the first- and second-degree verdicts that on June 13 and July 15 had authorized the end of assisted ventilation. The last chance for parents is the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The last sentence – Verdicts that – as in other more or less recent cases of similar family tragedies, which ended not without controversy – had given reason to the indications of the doctors and wrong to the requests of the father and mother. And that the appellate judges confirmed again: by refusing to admit the family lawyer petition in favor of a further examination of the merits; reiterating that they consider all reasonable expectations of a 12-year-old awakening to be exhausted; and considering in his “best interest” the shortening of an agony that has lasted for months.

While they limited themselves to setting a 48-hour extension to allow parents to apply – outside the national justice system – to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and verify the admissibility of the case there (at other times denied in similar circumstances).

The panel of judges, made up of three senior judges, two men and a woman, admitted the anguish of being faced with “a tragedy of immeasurable magnitude”. Not without insisting on the ritual formulas of recognizing the pain of family members and understanding their feelings.

However, the device was issued in categorical terms and without postponements, despite the fact that the lawyer Edward Devereux had asked at the beginning to update the hearing, evoking a suspected heart attack suffered in the previous hours by Archie’s father, Paul, hospitalized in an unspecified hospital and in unclear conditions for what he said “could have been a heart attack or a stroke”.

The story – Archie Battersbee, a handsome 12-year-old blond boy found unconscious at home in Southend, Essex, on April 7, is waiting unaware of his fate in a room at the Royal London Hospital: in a deep coma, as he claims the team that looks after him, according to which an irreversible diagnosis of brain cell death appears “highly probable” from May; still present in some way, in the unshakeable conviction of dad Paul and mom Hollie, separated for some time, but united more than ever in this battle.

Her mother, moved by religious convictions and not only, continues to vigorously challenge the arguments of togas and white coats, referring to the small “signals” of progress mentioned in the courtroom by her own lawyer. While – with the support of pro-life associations and groups of ordinary people – she is now clinging to the last, fleeting chance in Strasbourg.

“A diagnosis of probable death is not enough,” her words, repeated like a mantra. “I am devastated and disgusted by the attitude of the judges and doctors”, since “Archie’s heart is still beating” and that he “shook my hand”.