Britain’s Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to prevent a hospital from withdrawing life support from a 12-year-old boy with catastrophic brain damage, rejecting a bid by his parents to extend his treatment.
The parents of Archie Battersbee had asked Supreme Court justices to block a lower court’s ruling that the Royal London Hospital can turn off the boy’s ventilator and stop other interventions that are keeping him alive.
Archie’s treatment had been due to end at noon on Tuesday, but the hospital said it would await the decision of the Supreme Court.
Justices at the U.K.’s top court said Archie had “no prospect of any meaningful recovery,” and even with continued treatment would die in the next few weeks from organ and heart failure.
The judges agreed with a lower court that continuing treatment “serves only to protract his death.”
Archie 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. Several British courts have agreed.
The family appealed to the U.N. Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and wanted the withdrawal of treatment put on hold while the committee examines the case.