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The parents of Archie Battersbee have lost a Supreme Court bid to block the withdrawal of his life-sustaining treatment, pending a review of his case by a UN committee.
Doctors had previously said they would withdraw the child's treatment by 12.00pm on Tuesday (2 August), but Archie's parents filed a last-minute appeal to the Supreme Court, to buy their son more time.
Archie, 12, was found unconscious at his home in Southend, Essex in April after suffering traumatic brain injuries - which his mum suspects was due to taking part in an online challenge - and has not regained consciousness.
He has relied on medical ventilation ever since at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, but a High Court judge ruled last month he should be allowed to die.
Archie’s parents - Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee - have continued to fight the ruling, arguing that it breaches Articles 10 and 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, as well as Article 6 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Children.
These obligations say states must recognise the right to life for those with disabilities and children, and take all necessary measures to ensure equal rights for all groups.
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 12.00pm 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, Hollie insisted she and Archie's father Paul 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 on 2 August 'unless directed otherwise'.