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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Paul Routledge

'NHS hospital staff did not cause Archie Battersbee's death - they tried to save him'

The tragic case of Archie Battersbee, allowed to die by a decision of the High Court, raises awkward and distressing questions.

Should Barts NHS Trust in London have kept him alive artificially, in the slim hope that he might recover?

Or should his parents have accepted the ­diagnosis that the 12-year-old boy was brain-stem dead, and allowed earlier withdrawal of life-supporting treatment?

And were the judges the right people to have the final say in this child’s fate?

Archie’s fiercely-protective mother Hollie slammed the medics, accusing them and the judiciary of a “choreographed execution”.

She demands an inquiry, so that ­something good might come out of her personal tragedy.

Archie Battersbee's mum Hollie Dance speaking to the media outside the Royal London Hospital (PA)

Internal NHS inquiries often follow such high-profile events, but they generally lead to nothing, except promises to do things better next time.

And do they? The frequency with which such cases recur suggests not.

The current situation, where parents and medics battle over the life of a child in court, in public, with lawyers, across front pages and TV news, certainly cries out for change.

One reform proposed by Baroness Finlay of Llandaff, a cross-bench peer and a professor of palliative ­medicine, would end adversarial legal conflicts by ­referring such cases to an independent mediator.

The 12-year-old was seriously injured in an incident at his home (Hollie Dance / SWNS)

This sounds a bit like ­reinventing the wisdom of Solomon, creating an all-wise, medically-trained moral philosopher with the power of life and death.

It might work, and it’s only one idea of many that could come out of a proper, wide-ranging inquiry involving medics, lawyers, politicians, parents and family bodies.

Meanwhile, a period of calm and respect for this little boy’s life is in order.

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Archie’s mother thanked her legal team for their unsuccessful two-month court campaign.

Let’s also pay tribute to the doctors, nurses and support staff at Barts NHS Trust who worked night and day to keep him alive for four months after his accident at home.

They did not cause Archie’s death. They tried to save him.

Let’s not dismiss their heroic efforts as some kind of grotesque conspiracy.

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