Archie Battersbee's mother condemns 'execution letter' handed to her by hospital

Archie Battersbee, 12,
Archie Battersbee's life support is scheduled to end on Monday. (SWNS)

Archie Battersbee's mother has criticised hospital officials over how they treated her ahead of her son’s life support being withdrawn.

Hollie Dance says her family was “left to deal with their feelings” after being handed a letter on Saturday night outlining what she said was Archie's "choreographed execution".

Archie is due to have his life support at the Royal London Hospital in east London withdrawn at midday on Tuesday. It follows a lengthy legal battle with doctors who said he was brain dead and that preserving his life was not in his best interests.

On Monday, in a last-minute hearing, the Court of Appeal refused to postpone the withdrawal of treatment beyond 12pm on Tuesday.

Read more: Archie Battersbee’s mother speaks of anxiety ahead of last-minute hearing

The mother of Archie Battersbee, Hollie Dance speaks to the media outside the Royal Courts of Justice, London. The parents of Archie, 12, have lost their appeal to prevent their son's life support being switched off. Picture date: Monday July 25, 2022. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)
Hollie Dance speaks to the media outside the Royal Courts of Justice last week. (Getty) (Dominic Lipinski - PA Images via Getty Images)

Speaking prior to Monday's hearing, Dance said her family had had “no support whatsoever” from Barts Health NHS Trust.

She said: “Absolutely none. I know they come across to the media as supportive and compassionate. It’s very much the opposite. It’s very misleading.”

Dance said she was handed a letter on Saturday night outlining Archie's death.

“There was no meeting, sat down and broken to gently," she said. “It’s just caused so much stress. This could have been totally prevented and handled totally different to how it’s been handled," she added.

“We shouldn’t have been dragged through the courts.”

She said the last couple of months have been “an emotional rollercoaster”.

“It’s been very draining. Stress levels are through the roof. Very heart-breaking. It’s been a very hard few months.”

Read more: Archie Battersbee’s family ‘being given time to come to terms with ruling’

The long-running legal battle took its latest twist on Friday when Archie’s family applied to the UN in a final attempt to prevent their son’s treatment from being stopped.

On Sunday, the government asked the High Court to “urgently consider” the UN request before the Court of Appeal ruled against the family on Monday.

Archie’s parents may now ask Supreme Court justices to consider their application for permission to appeal directly

Watch: Archie Battersbee’s mother: ‘We will continue this fight’

Barts Health NHS Trust said it could not comment on the claims made by Dance.

However, the trust has previously said in a letter to Dance and Archie's dad, Paul Battersbee, who are separated but both live in Southend, Essex, that the withdrawal process would aim to “preserve Archie’s dignity”.

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

Alistair Chesser, chief medical officer for Barts Health NHS Trust, said prior to Monday's hearing: "Our deepest sympathies are with Archie's family at this difficult time.

“We understand a court hearing will take place on Monday morning and we await the outcome. The plan to withdraw treatment will proceed unless the court directs otherwise."

Archie's mum found him unconscious on 7 April. (SWNS)
Mum Hollie Dance found Archie unconscious on 7 April. (SWNS) (Hollie Dance / SWNS)

Baroness Finlay, a professor of palliative medicine, explained the parents of brain-damaged children need things “sensitively explained” so they can come to terms with their condition.

She told Times Radio: “The difficulty for the parents is, initially, they are in terrible shock. They’re often wanting to deny that there is even brain injury.

“And for them, when there’s brain injury, often their child looks intact. So their face looks as it always did.”

Judges heard that Dance found Archie unconscious with a ligature over his head on 7 April, after she believes he took part in an online challenge.