THE parents of stricken Archie Battersbee were dealt a fresh blow today after a judge ruled doctors can stop providing life support.
Archie, 12, was found with a ligature over his head after a social media dare at home in Southend, Essex on April 7 this year.
The youngster suffered brain damage in the "freak accident" and hasn't woken since.
His parents Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee have been battling to keep his life support switched on while he remains in hospital.
They argued his treatment should continue unless his heart stops beating.
But a High Court judge ruled today doctors can lawfully stop life support after reviewing evidence.
Read more on the case
Tragic accident has left Archie Battersbee fighting for his life
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Mr Justice Hayden said ending the "futile" treatment is in Archie's best interests as it "compromises his dignity" and "deprives him of his autonomy".
He added: "This court has to ask itself whether continuation of ventilation in this case is in Archie's best interests.
"It is with the most profound regret, but on the most compelling of evidence, that I am driven to conclude that it is not.
"It is obvious from the detail of the treatment that I have set out above that it is intrusive, burdensome and intensive.
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"It serves only to protract his death, whilst being unable to prolong his life."
The decision comes after Archie's parents were granted permission to appeal an original ruling that stated he is legally dead and stands no chance of making a full recovery.
Mum Hollie claimed Archie has squeezed her hand from his bed at the Royal London Hospital.
She begged medics to give the schoolboy a chance to recover and says she knows with her "mother's instinct" that he is still alive.
Hollie added: "His heart is still beating, he has gripped my hand, and as his mother and by my mother's instinct, I know my son is still there."
The court heard previously how the teen has shown no "discernible" brain activity with medics believing he is "brain-stem dead".
He was rushed to hospital after being discovered by Hollie in his bedroom at the family home.
She believes he was participating in an online "blackout challenge" when he accidentally starved his brain of oxygen.
The cause of the horror is still under investigation but Hollie says her son was not trying to take his own life.
Andrea Williams – chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre who are supporting Archie's family – said: "This is another devastating blow for the family and for Archie. Sadly, however, this is what we have come to expect from the courts in end-of-life cases.
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"What Archie's case has shown is that systematic reform is needed to protect the vulnerable and their families in end-of-life matters.
"Parents of vulnerable and critically ill children are being put through the mill at the most traumatic moments in their lives when what they need is compassion, support and respect from the NHS and the legal system."
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