UN Issues Injunction Against UK Socialised Health System Removing Life Support from 12-Year-Old Boy

The mother of Archie Battersbee, Hollie Dance speaks to the media outside the Royal Courts of Justice, London. The parents of Archie, 12, have lost their appeal to prevent their son's life support being switched off. Picture date: Monday July 25, 2022. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)
Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images

The United Nations has issued a request that the British government refrain from removing life support from a 12-year-old boy who has suffered brain damage.

In a “last ditch” attempt to save the life of their son, Paul Battersbee and Hollie Dance petitioned the UN to intervene and consider the case of Archie Battersbee, who doctors have claimed is brain dead and therefore have called for the boy to be removed from the ventilator keeping him alive.

On Friday, the family claimed to have received a letter from the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities, which they said should serve as an injunction and prevent the United Kingdom’s socialised healthcare system from pulling the plug on the 12-year-old boy, who has been hospitalised since April after being found unconscious at his home.

The letter reportedly states that the committee has “requested the State party to refrain from withdrawing life-preserving medical treatment, including mechanical ventilation and artificial nutrition and hydration, from the alleged victim while the case is under consideration by the Committee; this request does not imply that any decision has been reached on the substance of the matter under consideration.”

While the Christian Legal Center, which is supporting the family’s legal fight, has claimed that the Brtitish authorities should be bound by the injunction, it is currently unclear if they will abide by it.

Responding to the move, Ms Dance said: “I am so grateful to the UN for their response and acting so quickly for my son.

“We have been under so much stress and anxiety; we are already broken and the not knowing what was going to happen next was excruciating. To get this news now means everything.”

The family had previously appealed the decision by England’s High Court, which ruled in favour of doctors at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, who claimed that Archie is brain dead and therefore continued life support would not be in his best interests.

The intervention by the United Nations is reminiscent of the attempts by Pope Francis to save the live of baby Charlie Gard, with the pontiff even offering to help the child travel to Italy to receive experimental treatment for his rare and debilitating genetic disorder.

The case rose to international attention, with figures such as then-President Donald Trump also offering to help the family. The situation demonstrated the callous nature of a government-run healthcare system, with parental rights being thrown aside in favour of the decisions of doctors paid by the state.

In one of the court appeals, a Gard family spokesman said that baby Charlie was “effectively being taken prisoner by the NHS and by the State”, asking: “Whose child is he? Is he the state’s child? Is he the NHS’s child? Or does this child belong to the parents?”

Ultimately, the Gards were refused the right to seek medical treatment outside of the country at their own expense and Charlie Gard died at the age of 11 months on July 28th, 2017.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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