Life Support (2) – Aug 6: What is most important for Archie’s care – no hospice – RIP

See update at the bottom of the post:

While the decision of the Court dealing with the UN-application is imminent, the NHS Trust and Govt lawyers have argued it would be immoral to delay palliative care – in other words they declare the intention to stop life support for the boy before the UN application has been decided upon.

My premise is not that of a lawyer, I am a social care professional who has been treated with contempt and has been dealt lies by NHS professionals and their lawyers. I say this not as much because it may colour my reflection but as I generally think guiding interests should be declared.

In this case I note the Government lawyers’ interest being: Another application is another fee.

The NHS Trust’s interest: Frankly – To keep the right to play g-o-d in other cases going forward as well. (And who would that be in a Monarchy anyway, someone disguised in a red fur coat, siting on a throne?)

In any case this is a society in which I cannot in good conscience argue pro support to end a person’s life.

I shall add the Court decision on the substance of the UN-application here as soon as I get my hands on it.

PS Just received headline email from Washington Post from today. Their article on the case seems, if I read it correctly, to be ahead on some assumptions facts and behind on some facts or vice versa, most likely mostly due to happenings over the week end and the time difference UK vs US.


18:10 BST – if I understand the BBC correctly, the Court of Appeal has an hour ago rejected the UN-argument to allow further appeal and/or to extend Archie’s care until a decision to be made. The next step seems to be for Archie’s family/lawyers to apply to the Supreme Ct for the permission they seek. In the midst of all the legalise it is easy to forget the substance of the case: Archie’s mom says his best interest should e for her to decide and that she has observed attempts for him to breathe independently. The NHS Trust says he is brain-stem dead and will not recover. And it is therefor not ‘in his best interest’ to continue treatment.

As a social worker I became somewhat familiar with decisions around best interest. However, to use this argument as a justification to end a person’s life seems bizarre. One can argue that is extremely unlikely that he will recover. But I don’t think they can logically argue that it is in his best interest not to even have that remote chance. I was personally involved in a decision not to release a care home resident from the home as he applied. It was decided it was in his best interest to have his liberty restricted as due to chronic alcoholism and resulting dementia he was clearly unable and unwilling to give up alcohol. The decision for the least invasive restriction of his rights was for him to remain in a (quite liberal) Home, including some free time and excursions. Even if the person, under the supervision at the Home, remains abstinent of alcohol, his dementia his not going to get better. So the decision for A’s relative quality of life and against B’s right to live hangs – to be generous towards the NHS-argument (which I have not read in full btw) – on the quality of life in one case over the other. As I said before, without legal training I find it difficult to see how the best interest argument can be stretched in the direction of ending someone’s life.-

Aug 2, 13:30 BST if I understand the legal process correctly, the family have a new window to approach the Supreme Ct to t stop Archie’s life support being withdrawn – either because previously the Court of Appeal did not grant them permission to appeal further or because of the UN involvement. They argue Archie has not ben given sufficient time to recover. The NHS argue he is ‘brain-stem dead’ and won’t recover. I wonder how can it ever be not in someone’s ‘best interest’ to continue life support – unless this in itself causes severe suffering (which does not appear to be the case). So it does not need a lot of ‘hermeneutic of suspicion’ to see the NHS spending a lot of money on this case may be because of a precedent: Other patients may in future use a positive decision in Archie’s favour to demand similar quality of care.

Again, I am not legally trained and I rely on the information from the BBC and my own professional experience in a related field.

Aug 2, 1735 BST – the family have lost their latest/last appeal to the Supreme Ct; Archie shall now be moved to a Hospice. I hope that works out for them and the Trust don’t object once more. I heard a brief extract of his mother speaking how she felt let down by the Justice system. In any case, they should have probably been given more clinical psychological support rather than be ‘dragged through the Courts’ as I heard her say yesterday. –

Sleep well, Archie.

Aug 3, 12:17 BST Have just read as reported by Sky News an hr ago that Archie’s family have applied to the European Court of Human Rights (Strasbourg) to to prevent stop of care for Archie. I have yet to listen to the mother’s arguments there and will further update.

Strasbourg has ruled:

in the meantime the Hospital had refused to refer Archie to a hospice. Apparently they say it might hasten his demise – which sounds a bit strange from the Trust which could not end his treatment soon enough.

apparently the NHS have relented about the Hospice:

the NHS had already once denied move to a hospice, as it would make Archie ‘unstable’;

a new application is now before the Court and the Justice will hear evidence until late into the night:

Aug 5, 15:00 BST It is an hour since I read the BBC post and I still don’t trust myself to comment. Please come back later.


~ by Barbara S on August 1, 2022.

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