Archie Battersbee’s mum vows to fight on with life suport deadline approaching after High Court bid fails

·3-min read
Archie Battersbee’s mum vows to fight on with life suport deadline approaching after High Court bid fails

Archie Battersbee’s mother has vowed to continue to fight for her son despite the Court of Appeal’s refusal to postpone the withdrawal of the 12-year-old’s life-sustaining treatment beyond 12pm on Tuesday.

The youngster was due to have his life-support at the Royal London Hospital in east London ended at 2pm on Monday, after a High Court judge ruled this to be in his best interests and the family exhausted all routes of appeal.

However, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee made a last-ditch application to the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities last week after their court battle against Barts Health NHS Trust over his treatment ended.

Archie’s mother, Hollie indicated she and his father Paul will make an application to the UK’s highest court.

She said in a statement: “We continue to be shocked and traumatised by the brutality of the UK courts and the hospital trust.

“Our wishes as parents continue to be trampled on and ignored. We do not understand the urgency and rush to end life-support.

“The hospital trust has at no point given us time to come to terms with what has happened.

“This is no way for a compassionate society to treat a family in our situation. We will continue to fight for Archie.”

Doctors have said Archie Battersbee is brain-stem dead (Hollie Dance/PA) (PA Media)
Doctors have said Archie Battersbee is brain-stem dead (Hollie Dance/PA) (PA Media)

The UN committee issued a request to the UK Government on Friday, asking that it “refrain from withdrawing life-preserving medical treatment, including mechanical ventilation and artificial nutrition and hydration” from Archie while his case is under consideration.

But Sir Andrew McFarlane, sitting with Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Moylan, said: “My decision is that, save for granting a short stay until 12 noon tomorrow, the parents’ application for any further stay is dismissed.”

The judge said the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which the UN committee based its request on, is an “unincorporated international treaty”.

He said: “It is not part of the law of the United Kingdom … and it is not appropriate for this court to apply an unincorporated international treaty into its decision-making process.”

In his ruling, Sir Andrew McFarlane referred to the medical evidence before Mr Justice Hayden, who ruled on July 15 that Archie’s life-sustaining treatment should be withdrawn.

The judge said: “In short, his system, his organs and, ultimately, his heart are in the process of closing down. The options before the court have always been stark.”

Sir Andrew said the options before the courts on previous occasions were either that treatment was withdrawn immediately, resulting in Archie’s death a short while later, or the option favoured by his parents that he would die at some time in the coming weeks – in their words at a time “chosen by God”

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

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

They are being supported by campaign organisation the Christian Legal Centre.

Barts Health previously said in a letter to Ms Dance and Mr Battersbee, who are separated but both live in Southend, Essex, that the withdrawal process will aim to “preserve Archie’s dignity”.

The trust said in the letter: “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.”

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