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Parents of boy in life-support battle go to European court

LONDON (AP) – The family of a comatose British boy at the centre of a life-support battle said yesterday that it has appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in a last-ditch bid to stop a hospital ending his treatment.

Archie Battersbee, 12, was found unconscious at home with a ligature over his head on April 7. His parents believe he may have been taking part in an online challenge that went wrong.

Doctors believe Archie is brain-stem dead and say continued life-support treatment is not in his best interests.

His parents, Paul Battersbee and Hollie Dance, have fought unsuccessfully to get British courts to block the Royal London Hospital turning off the boy’s ventilator and stopping other interventions that are keeping him alive.

Dance said the family’s lawyers submitted an application to the Strasbourg, France-based European human rights court hours before the hospital planned to begin withdrawing Archie’s life support yesterday morning.

Paul Battersbee and Hollie Dance speak to the media. PHOTO: AP

“We now hope and pray that the ECHR will look favourably on the application,” she said.

“We will not give up on Archie until the end.”

She also said the family was considering offers from other countries to treat Archie.

The case is the latest in the United Kingdom (UK) that has pitted the judgment of doctors against the wishes of families. In several cases, including this one, the families have been backed by a religious pressure group, Christian Concern.

Under British law, it is common for courts to intervene when parents and doctors disagree on the treatment of a child. In such cases, the rights of the child take primacy over the parents’ right to decide what’s best for their offspring.

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