A last-ditch bid by the parents of Archie Battersbee to postpone the withdrawal of his life support has been refused by the European Court of Human Rights.
The 12-year-old has been in a coma since he was found unconscious in April and is being kept alive by a combination of medical interventions, including ventilation and drug treatments, at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London.
His parents submitted an application to the Strasbourg-based court on Wednesday morning, just a few hours before Barts Health NHS Trust had been expected to withdraw their son’s life support.
But shortly after 6.30pm, the European court said it had refused the parents’ request, adding that it would not “interfere with the decisions of the national courts to allow the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment from (Archie) to proceed”.
His parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, have been involved in a series of legal efforts regarding their son’s condition.
He was found unconscious at his home by his mother on April 7 and has not regained consciousness since. She believes he was taking part in an online challenge.
Ms Dance and Mr Battersbee were granted a Court of Appeal hearing on Monday after the Government asked judges to urgently consider a request from a UN committee to keep treating Archie while it reviews his case.
However, after considering the matter, three judges refused to postpone the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment beyond midday on Tuesday.
They also refused to grant permission to appeal against their ruling at the Supreme Court.
Ms Dance and Mr Battersbee filed an application directly with the Supreme Court, asking for his treatment to continue so the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) could have time to consider their complaint, made last week.
But, refusing permission to appeal, a panel of three justices concluded the Court of Appeal “made the correct decision”.
Supreme Court judges said they have “great sympathy” with Archie’s parents but added there is “no prospect of any meaningful recovery”.
Earlier on Wednesday, Ms Dance vowed to “fight ’til the bitter end” for her son.
She said: “I promised Arch, same with his dad, that we will fight ’til the bitter end, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do.
“We’re going to fight for the right for my son to live.”