Archie Battersbee’s life support to be turned off at 11am, his mother confirms

·4-min read
Archie Battersbee’s life support to be turned off at 11am, his mother confirms

Archie Battersbee’s life support will be turned off at 11am on Wednesday, his mother Hollie Dance has said.

Ms Dance confirmed the update with Sky News, just hours after losing a Supreme Court bid to block the withdrawal of his life-sustaining treatment pending a review of his case by a UN committee.

Archie has been in a coma since he was found unconscious by his mother on April 7 and is currently being kept alive by a combination of medical interventions, including ventilation and drug treatments, at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London.

Speaking to Sky, Ms Dance said she “can’t take him home” and “can’t do anything”.

“It’s not right, Archie’s my child. It shouldn’t be down to other people to decide where he takes his last breath and if he lives or dies, it’s wrong,” she added.

Ms Dance and Mr Battersbee had filed an application directly with the Supreme Court after judges refused to postpone the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment beyond midday on Tuesday.

Archie Battersbee’s mother has said she and Archie’s father are “extremely disappointed” with the Supreme Court’s decision.

Hollie Dance said: “No authorities, other than the UN CRPD, have shown any compassion or understanding to us as a family.

“We will fight until the end.”

The Christian Legal Centre, which has been supporting the legal action by Archie Battersbee’s parents, has called for changes to the law following Archie’s case.

Archie Battersbee in hospital (PA) (PA Media)
Archie Battersbee in hospital (PA) (PA Media)

Archie’s parents wanted the court to order that his treatment should continue to allow the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) time to consider their complaint, made last week.

Lord Hodge, the court’s deputy president, considered the application for permission to appeal alongside Lords Kitchin and Stephens – the same panel of Supreme Court justices who rejected an appeal bid by Archie’s parents last week.

Announcing the court’s refusal to hear the appeal, the judges said: “As this panel stated in its note of determination last week, the justices have great sympathy with the plight of Archie’s devoted parents who face a circumstance that is every parent’s nightmare – the loss of a much-loved child.”

The judges continued: “It has to be borne in mind that, sadly, the central issue between Archie’s parents on the one hand and the NHS trust, which is supported by Archie’s very experienced guardian, has not been about Archie’s recovery but about the timing and manner of his death.

“As Sir Andrew MacFarlane recorded in his earlier judgment of July 25, there is no prospect of any meaningful recovery.

“Even if life-sustaining treatment were to be maintained, Archie would die in the course of the next few weeks through organ failure and then heart failure.

“The maintenance of the medical regime, as (Mr Justice Hayden) held in his very sympathetic judgment, ‘serves only to protract his death’.

“That conclusion was one which the judge reached only ‘with the most profound regret’.”

The parents of Archie Battersbee, Paul Battersbee and Hollie Dance, speak to the media outside the Royal London hospital in Whitechapel, east London (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)
The parents of Archie Battersbee, Paul Battersbee and Hollie Dance, speak to the media outside the Royal London hospital in Whitechapel, east London (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)

The Supreme Court’s announcement continued: “While there was evidence that Archie was a child with religious beliefs, was very close to his mother and would not have wished to leave her alone, those are only some of the factors which the courts have to consider in their evaluation of where Archie’s best interests lie.

“It was against that background that Mr Justice Hayden held that it would not be lawful to continue life-sustaining treatment.”

Archie Battersbee’s family were talking to him and playing his favourite music as they waited to hear the outcome.

Family friend Ella Carter told the PA news agency: “They’re constantly talking to him and telling him what’s been going on with the family and his friends.

“We’ve got loads of videos of his boxers giving him inspirational messages, we’re constantly playing that to him.

“He’s watching Stranger Things at the moment, playing his favourite music, we’re constantly talking to him.”

A spokesman for the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting the legal action by Archie’s parents, said the hospital trust has confirmed it will not take any steps to withdraw treatment until the Supreme Court reached a decision.

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