UK court rules to end 12-year-old boy's life support, despite opposition from his parents

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The Royal London Hospital. Google© Streetview, Google Maps, taken 2020, accessed 2022.
The Royal London Hospital. Google© Streetview, Google Maps, taken 2020, accessed 2022.
  • A court in the UK has ruled to end a 12-year-old boy's life support. 
  • This is despite opposition from his parents and a United Nations intervention. 
  • The boy was found unconscious in his home in April and doctors believe him to be brain-stem dead. 

A UK court ruled on Monday to end life support for a 12-year-old boy, despite opposition from his parents and a last-minute intervention by the United Nations.

The Court of Appeal in London decided doctors can switch off life support for the child from 12:00 on Tuesday.

The boy had been due to have his life support at the Royal London Hospital ended on Monday afternoon after his parents failed in a domestic legal bid to halt the move.

His mother discovered him unconscious at home in April with signs he had placed a ligature over his head, possibly after taking part in an online asphyxiation challenge.

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UK courts earlier found that ending life-preserving treatment for the boy was in his best interests, as doctors believe he is brain-stem dead.

As a last resort, his parents applied to the United Nations and the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The UN committee requested on Friday that his treatment be continued while his case was under consideration.

The UK government then asked the Court of Appeal to "urgently consider" his case on Monday afternoon.

An appeal court judge argued the UN request was not enforceable, but granted a delay until 12 noon on Tuesday.

The Court of Appeal is a High Court based at the Royal Courts of Justice in London.

His mother in an interview with Sky News condemned what she called the "choreographed execution of my son".

She said: 

It's so traumatic: to just be dragged through courts, no empathy, no compassion.

His parents are being supported by a campaign organisation, the Christian Legal Centre.

The centre's chief executive, Andrea Williams, tweeted that the case "goes right to the heart of protections at end of life".

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