Archie Battersbee’s family lodge last-minute appeal with Supreme Court to stop withdrawal of life support

·3-min read

Archie Battersbee’s family has made a last-ditch appeal to the Supreme Court in a bid to keep the brain-damaged boy on life support for longer.

Doctors had been given permission to stop treating the 12-year-old, who has been unconscious for nearly four months, from Tuesday midday.

The family vowed to ask the Supreme Court for permission to appeal the ruling, which rejected a United Nations request to keep Archie on life support while one of its committees looked into the case.

The hospital said it would prepare to stop treating Archie but would not take any action while the family appealed.

Shortly after midday, the Supreme Court said it had received an application asking for permission to appeal.

It said Archie’s parents were seeking to delay when doctors can take their son off life support - which they have been granted permission to do by the High Court.

The family wan a delay to give the UN’s disability rights committee more time to look into whether removing Archie’s life support would be in breach of its convention.

The Court of Appeal turned down the UN’s request on Monday, saying the case was “very strongly in favour” of refusing to delay the removal of life support when considering Archie’s welfare.

Archie Battersbee was expected to have his support treatment ended on Tuesday (Hollie Dance/PA) (PA Media)
Archie Battersbee was expected to have his support treatment ended on Tuesday (Hollie Dance/PA) (PA Media)

“Every day that he continues to be given life-sustaining treatment is contrary to his best interests,” the lead judge said.

The appeal judges refused to grant permission to appeal against their ruling at the Supreme Court.

The family have now asked the UK’s highest court for permission to appeal, who said three Justices are looking into whether to allow this.

The parents of Archie, Paul Battersbee and Hollie Dance, have launched an appeal to the Supreme Court (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)
The parents of Archie, Paul Battersbee and Hollie Dance, have launched an appeal to the Supreme Court (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)

The Supreme Court said it will provide further updates when they become available.

Archie’s mother, Hollie Dance, said she was praying for an “encouraging response” from the court.

“We are having to battle over every decision with the hospital. There is nothing dignified in how we are being treated as a family in this situation,” she said.

“We do not understand what the rush is and why all of our wishes are being denied.”

Archie’s mother said she believes her son was “still with us” and was “progressing in so many ways”.

Archie suffered a brain injury at home in Essex earlier this year (PA)
Archie suffered a brain injury at home in Essex earlier this year (PA)

Doctors believe Archie is brain-stem dead and say continued life-support treatment is not in his best interests.

Archie suffered a brain injury in April during an incident at his home in Southend, Essex, which his mother believes may have been linked to an online challenge.

The 12-year-old boy has not regained conciousness since and has been kept in intensive care at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.

A Court of Appeal judge said Archie’s system, organs and heart were “in the process of closing down” as he ruled in favour of letting the hospital stop treating Archie from Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting the legal action brought by Archie’s parents, said the hospital trust has confirmed it will not take any steps to withdraw treatment until the Supreme Court has reached a decision.

A family friend said things were “a little bit tense” at the Royal London Hospital on Tuesday due to the official 12pm cut-off point for treatment.

“The atmosphere is OK because we’ve got all the family around us at the moment,” Ella Carter said.

She also said the family wanted Archie to go to a hospice if his life support is turned off, with the “seven or eight” security guards outside his room making for a chaotic environment at the hospital.

“If this is Archie’s last couple of days it needs to be peaceful and it needs to be a calm atmosphere, and it’s the complete opposite really,” Ms Carter said.

Additional reporting by Press Association