Clinic sets parents deadline: Archie should die in a hospice

British doctors plan to end life support for 12-year-old Archie this Thursday.

Clinic sets parents deadline: Archie should die in a hospice

British doctors plan to end life support for 12-year-old Archie this Thursday. The legal options have been exhausted and the parents still have one wish. But there is a dispute here too.

The parents of the terminally ill English boy Archie want to have the twelve-year-old taken to a hospice to die. However, the treating clinic is opposed and has set a final deadline for appeals. According to the clinic operator Barts Health NHS Trust, the parents had until 9 a.m. (local time, 10 a.m. CEST) the opportunity to take legal action against the hospital's decision. Otherwise, life-sustaining measures would be stopped at 11 a.m.

"Archie is in such an unstable condition that there is a significant risk even if he is turned within his hospital bed, which must be done as part of his ongoing care," the operator said. "This means that in his condition, being transferred by ambulance to a completely different environment would most likely hasten the premature deterioration that the family wishes to avoid, even with full intensive care equipment and staff on the journey." This was explained to the family.

The UK's highest court had upheld the treating doctors' decision to let Archie die. It is in the boy's best interest. A final appeal by the parents to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg was also unsuccessful. The Council of Europe body declined to intervene in the case on Wednesday evening. Archie's mother, Hollie Dance, was heartbroken. "This is the end," she told reporters in London. Dance accused the clinic of breaking its promise that Archie could be placed in a hospice in a "legal worst-case scenario."

Archie has been in a coma since April. He suffered serious brain injuries in an accident at home in Southend-on-Sea, possibly during an internet dare. The case is reminiscent of similar disputes over terminally ill children in Great Britain. What is in the best interests of the patient is often decided by judges on the recommendation of medical professionals. The UK health service, which is under severe financial pressure, tends to withdraw life support much earlier than would be the case in Germany, for example, where conflicts are sometimes more likely to arise when the sick or loved ones want to turn off equipment of their own volition.

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