Government asks High Court to review UN request over life support for Archie Battersbee

·2-min read
Undated family handout file photo of Archie Battersbee (PA)
Undated family handout file photo of Archie Battersbee (PA)

Government lawyers have asked the High Court to “urgently consider” a request by the UN to stop life-support treatment being ended for 12-year-old Archie Battersbee, according to reports.

It comes after Archie’s mother, Hollie Dance, urged the Health Secretary to “act immediately” to stop the treatment ending, saying it would be “a flagrant breach” of his rights.

The 12-year-old’s parents had also appealed to the UN over the turning off of Archie’s life support, after the Supreme Court declined to intervene in the case.

According to Sky News, the Government’s Legal Department said it was carefully considering correspondence from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, after the UN intervened in the case to apply interim measures on the UK prohibiting any moves to withdraw treatment.

It also added that it had asked the request to be urgently placed in front of a High Court judge.

Hollie Dance wrote to the Health Secretary urging an intervention (PA Wire)
Hollie Dance wrote to the Health Secretary urging an intervention (PA Wire)

Barts Health NHS Trust, which is caring for the youngster, had earlier said in a letter to his parents that “all fluid infusions, medications, including vasopressin will be stopped” at 2pm on Monday, August 1.

The yougster has been in hospital since April after Ms Dance found her son with a ligature over his head.

She believes he may have been taking part in an online challenge. The youngster has not regained consciousness since.

Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, think he is brain-stem dead and say continued life-support treatment is not in his best interests.

A High Court judge had previously ruled that ending treatment is in Archie's best interests after reviewing evidence.

In a letter to Archie’s parents, Barts Health NHS Trust said: “We understand that any discussions around the withdrawal of Archie’s treatment are very difficult and painful.

“However, we want to ensure that you and your family are involved as much as you wish to be.”

After the parents’ appeal to the UN, the UN Committee On The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities said it requested “the UK to refrain from withdrawing life-preserving medical treatment, including mechanical ventilation and artificial nutrition and hydration, from the alleged victim while the case is under consideration by the committee”.

It added: “This request does not imply that any decision has been reached on the substance of the matter under consideration.”

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