Archie Battersbee's mother says she's done everything she can, as son to be taken off life support

·6-min read
archie battersbee hospice hollie dance mum judgment - Hollie Dance /PA
archie battersbee hospice hollie dance mum judgment - Hollie Dance /PA

The mother of Archie Battersbee has said she has done everything she promised her son she would do as the family prepare for his life support to be withdrawn on Saturday morning.

Archie will be taken off life support on Saturday morning, his family said on Friday after losing a last-ditch attempt to move the 12-year-old to a hospice.

A spokesperson for the family said the hospital had informed them that it would be withdrawing life support at 10am on Saturday.

However, Barts Health NHS Trust said its position remains the same in that no changes will be made to Archie's care "until the outstanding legal issues are resolved".

In an interview with Sky News, recorded on Friday, Archie's mother Hollie Dance, of Southend, Essex, said she is "pretty broken" and that the day had been "absolutely awful".

Breaking down, she said: "The last however many weeks since 7th April, I don't think there's been a day that hasn't been awful really."

Ms Dance added: "It's been really hard. Despite the hard strong face and appearance obviously in front of the cameras up until now, I've been pretty broken."

Well wishers gather outside hospital

Outside the Royal London Hospital, where the 12-year-old has been on life support for more than 100 days - they laid flowers and lit candles.

Kerry Walton, a hairdresser from Archie’s home town of Southend, laid a bouquet at the feet of the statue of Queen Alexandra, one of the hospital’s most famous benefactors.

“I’ve got two children aged seven and two and I just can’t imagine how Archie’s parents must be feeling,” said Ms Walton, 36. “As a mother I can appreciate what Archie’s mum was trying to do - gain more time for her son. If it was me I’d try to get home from anywhere- even just a glimmer of it.”

Until life support was withdrawn on Saturday morning he had been kept alive by a combination of medical interventions, including ventilation and drug treatments - Hollie Dance
Until life support was withdrawn on Saturday morning he had been kept alive by a combination of medical interventions, including ventilation and drug treatments - Hollie Dance

Soon others followed, an impromptu shrine springing up in the minutes before doctors were due to switch off his life support at 10am.

Some among the well wishers wore T-shirts with the words Archie King and a photograph of the youngster.

Ms Walton added: “I wanted to pay my respects quietly and peacefully, like others are doing. It’s just so sad.”

Evelina Benekeraitiene, 33, laid out 14 candles around a handwritten sign with Archie’s name on it drawn by her son.

“My son is exactly the same age as Archie and even looks like him,” she said. “It’s heartbreaking for any parent and they shouldn’t have to go through this.”

The High Court ruled on Friday that Archie cannot be moved to a hospice as his parents continue their battle for their son to die "with dignity".

The judgment from Mrs Justice Theis found that moving Archie from the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel to a hospice would be against his best interests.

Archie's parents applied to the European Court of Human Rights on Friday after they were refused permission to appeal the High Court's decision by the Court of Appeal. However, the ECHR said it would not intervene in the case.

Doctors also gave evidence regarding whether Archie should be moved to a hospice, including the "not insignificant" risks of moving Archie, such as a fall in his blood pressure when he is turned or moved.

archie battersbee hospice hollie dance mum judgment - James Manning /PA
archie battersbee hospice hollie dance mum judgment - James Manning /PA

The High Court was told that there would be risks involved in moving Archie from his bed to a hospital trolley, as well as the possibility that his tubes would be dislodged or equipment would fail while making the journey to the hospice.

The judge said solicitors acting for Archie's parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, contacted Barts Health NHS Trust on Tuesday stating their preference for him to be moved to a hospice.

They also said that the parents disagreed with the decision to withdraw treatment from Archie and wanted to pursue "all legal avenues reasonably open to them".

Following the ruling, Ms Dance said: "All our wishes as a family have been denied by the authorities. We are broken, but we are keeping going, because we love Archie and refuse to give up on him."

The 12-year-old has been in a coma since April after he was found following an accident at his home. Ms Dance believes he was taking part in an online challenge at the time he became ill. He has not regained consciousness since.

Doctors have declared him to be "brainstem-dead", and his family have fought to maintain his life support in the courts, with the European Court of Human Rights ruling on Wednesday that planned withdrawal of his treatment could not be delayed.

The judgment referred to how Archie had suffered a "catastrophic" brain injury as a result of the accident and had "no prospect of making any meaningful recovery".

Doctors had previously given evidence that Archie was "weeks away from a death which will otherwise occur from a gradual further deterioration and then failure of his organs followed by the failure of his heart".

archie battersbee hospice hollie dance mum judgment - Hollie Dance /PA
archie battersbee hospice hollie dance mum judgment - Hollie Dance /PA

The judgment also described how one doctor said that potential medical treatments overseas, such as trials using stem cells to repair brain injuries, would depend on the patient's prior clinical and brain state, and that where there "is very extensive brainstem and cortical damage, as is sadly the case for Archie, it is impossible to envisage that a cell-based therapy could produce any meaningful improvement".

"Archie's best interests must remain at the core of any conclusions reached by this court," the judge said.

"When considering the wishes of the family, why those wishes are held, the facilities at the hospice, what Archie is likely to have wanted... the risks involved in a transfer... and the increasing fragility of his medical condition, I am satisfied that when looking at the balancing exercise again his best interests remain as set out (in the ruling of July 15), that he should remain at the hospital when treatment is withdrawn."

Ms Dance said on Thursday that she wanted her son to "spend his last moments" together with family privately, complaining of a lack of privacy at the hospital.

She told Times Radio on Thursday: "We can't even have the chance to be in a room together as a family without nurses.

"There's absolutely no privacy, which is why, again, the courts keep going on about this dignified death - why aren't we allowed to take our child to a hospice and spend his last moments, his last days together privately? Why is the hospital obstructing it?"

A High Court order made in July requires that Archie remains at the Royal London Hospital while his treatment is withdrawn.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting