Archie Battersbee: New court hearing set as boy's family fight to keep life support going

·2-min read

A court hearing will take place this morning amid a legal battle over whether to withdraw life support treatment for 12-year-old Archie Battersby.

Archie was set to have treatment withdrawn at 2pm today - but following interventions from the government and the UN a virtual Court of Appeal hearing will now take place at 11am.

The UN's Committee on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities had asked the UK government to stop Archie's life support being withdrawn until it had the chance to review the case.

The government's legal advisers then asked the High Court to "urgently consider" the UN request.

Archie has been on life support since April after being found unconscious at home by his mother in Southend, Essex.

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

Archie's mother Hollie Dance said: "We are relieved that the government has taken the UN's intervention seriously. This was not a 'request' but an interim measures injunction from the UN.

"The anxiety of being told that Archie's life support will be removed has been horrific. We are already broken and the not knowing what was going to happen next is excruciating."

On Saturday, Ms Dance sent a letter to Health Secretary Steve Barclay urging him to help save her son's life.

She wrote: "If this happens, this will be an extraordinary cruelty, and a flagrant breach of Archie's rights as a disabled person".

Ms Dance said Barts Health NHS Trust, which is treating her son, has handed her details of how medics will withdraw treatment and let the family watch him die.

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

Archie has not regained consciousness since 7 April and Ms Dance said she believes he may have been taking part in an online challenge before injuring himself.

Archie's family argue that stopping treatment would be in breach of the UK's obligations under Articles 10 and 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, and Article 6 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Children.

These international obligations say states must take all necessary measures to ensure disabled people enjoy equal rights and that governments should do all they can to prevent the deaths of children and young people.

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