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Archie: Parents tune in to Strasbourg again

2022-08-05T21:00:34.789Z

The parents want the brain-dead 12-year-old Archie to be allowed to switch off the machines in a hospice. The High Court in London considers this to be too onerous. The case is now before the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.



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Archie's mother, Hollie Dance, outside the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel

Photo: Jonathan Brady / dpa

It's another defeat for the parents of 12-year-old Archie.

The Court of Appeal in London on Friday evening rejected an application by the family to have the brain-dead Archie transferred from a hospital to a hospice.

The devices keeping the boy's body alive are said to be shut down soon.

The Court of Appeal upheld a previous decision by the High Court that it was in Archie's best interest for life support to be withdrawn in the hospital, not in an unfamiliar environment, the judge said on Friday afternoon.

The family immediately announced that they would contact the European Court of Human Rights again.

The organization Christian Concern, which supports Archie's parents, announced that they wanted to have the judgment of the High Court reviewed in Strasbourg.

Archie has been in a coma since April.

He sustained serious brain injuries in an accident at home in Southend-on-Sea, possibly during an internet dare.

The treating doctors see no chance of recovery.

The UK's highest court had backed the doctors' decision to turn off Archie's life support machines.

A final appeal by the parents to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg was also unsuccessful.

Archie's parents then tried to get Archie transferred to a hospice.

However, the hospital refused: "Archie is in such an unstable condition that there is a significant risk even if he is turned inside his hospital bed, which must be done as part of his ongoing care," said the hospital operator.

A transfer by ambulance to a completely different area would therefore most likely worsen his condition rapidly.

The London clinic had already announced several times for the measures to be discontinued, but these were repeatedly delayed due to the long legal dispute over Archie's fate.

After the latest decision, the operator announced that it would stop the measures from 10 a.m. local time (11 a.m. CEST).

However, the devices would not be switched off as long as legal decisions were still pending.

The case is reminiscent of similar disputes over terminally ill children in Great Britain.

Britain's NHS, which is under severe financial pressure, tends to withdraw life support much earlier than would be the case in Germany.

In addition, the wishes of parents and relatives are not taken into account to the same extent.

What is in the best interests of the patient is often decided by judges on the recommendation of medical professionals.

Conservative Christian Association provides assistance

In their "fight to the bitter end," the family of the twelve-year-old is supported by the conservative organization Christian Concern, which provides legal assistance in selected cases and speaks out against the recognition of homosexuality and transgender identity.

In 2013 she tried to win special rights for religious people before the European Court of Human Rights.

The court rejected that.

The legal tug of war in the Archie case was also an issue in the Vatican.

An opinion piece appeared on the official Vatican platform "Vatican News" arguing against the shutdown of the devices in the Archie case.

A society must protect life - and also the weak and fragile - it says.

Is someone still alive who is "brain dead"?

Dying is generally considered a process in which important human functional systems fail.

Exactly where the separation between life and death can or should be set is not easy to answer.

In 2015, the German Ethics Council also discussed the question of whether a person is considered dead if both the brain and heart fail, or whether brain death is sufficient as a criterion.

However, both factions agree: organs may be removed from brain dead people.

In the case of brain death, "the death of a person has clearly occurred according to neurological criteria," according to the organ donation portal of the Federal Center for Health Education.

»The brain no longer performs its control function.

The cardiovascular system can only be maintained artificially with the help of intensive care measures.« Without these systems, brain death would soon be followed by cardiovascular arrest.

Delaying this makes sense especially when a person's organs are intended for transplantation,

ani/mgo/dpa

Source: spiegel

All life articles on 2022-08-05

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