Archie Battersbee's Parents File Last Minute Appeal Moments Before Life-Support Due To End
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Archie Battersbee's parents have filed a last-minute appeal to the Supreme Court just moments before his life support was set to be switched off.
Doctors had previously said they would withdraw the child's treatment 12pm today (2 August), but since the appeal has been made, staff at the Royal London Hospital are waiting for the direction from the court.
Archie, 12, was found unconscious at his home in Southend, Essex in April after suffering traumatic brain injuries and has not regained consciousness since.
He has been receiving life support at the Whitechapel hospital in east London, but a High Court judge ruled last month he should be allowed to die.
Archie's mother, Hollie Dance, has fought repeatedly against the decision to turn off her son's life support by appealing the High Court ruling and writing to the government and the United Nations.
She claimed withdrawing his treatment would be a 'flagrant breach' of Archie's rights, with her efforts prompting the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (CRPD) to request that Archie could be kept alive so it could consider his case.
The UK court of appeal met to consider the request on Monday (1 August) just hours before Archie's life support was originally due to be turned off, but it ultimately refused to postpone the withdrawal any further than 12pm Tuesday (2 August).
Sir Andrew McFarlane, sitting with two other judges, explained the court's decision as he said: “Every day that [Archie] continues to be given life-sustaining treatment is against his best interests.
"I concluded that there should be no stay other than a short stay for the parents to take stock and consider whether they want to make any further application to the supreme court.”
After the verdict, Dance insisted she and Archie's father, Paul Battersbee, would challenge the ruling.
She commented: "We made a promise to Archie, we will fight to the end. And Archie’s still fighting.
"If [Tuesday’s] the last day then so be it, but we will be applying to the supreme court.”
The mother previously stressed that she would 'never give up' on her son as long as he is alive, adding: "He is too good to give up on."
"When he is to die, we believe it should be in God’s way and in God’s time," she continued. "What is the rush? Why is the hospital and the courts so keen to push this through as fast as possible?
"I don’t believe there is anything ‘dignified’ about planning Archie’s death. For me, this would be the most traumatic outcome."
Doctors at the Royal London Hospital have said Archie is brain-stem dead, insisting continued life-support treatment is not in his best interests.
Alistair Chesser, chief medical officer at Barts Health NHS Trust, expressed sympathy to Archie's family but made clear the hospital would continue with plans to withdraw treatment today (August 2) 'unless directed otherwise'.