Archie Battersbee’s family make final plea to ‘let him die with dignity’

The 12-year-old’s life support is due to be switched off on Thursday.

04 August 2022

Family members of 12-year-old Archie Battersbee are making a final plea for him to have “a dignified death”, as the protracted legal battle over his life edges to its conclusion.

Hollie Dance, the boy’s mother, said she wanted her son to be allowed to be transferred from hospital to a hospice so he can “spend his last moments” with his loved ones privately.

His family is due to lodge a final application on Thursday morning to the High Court in London to transfer him out of the Royal London Hospital after the long campaign to prevent doctors withdrawing life support effectively ended when the European Court of Human Rights rejected their final application on Wednesday.

Speaking to Times Radio on the morning her son’s life support is due to be turned off, Ms Dance said that Archie’s loved ones have not been able to have privacy at the hospital, saying: “We can’t even have the chance to be in a room together as a family without nurses.”

Archie Battersbee court case
Hollie Dance, mother of 12-year-old Archie Battersbee, speaks to the media outside the Royal London hospital in Whitechapel, east London on Wednesday (James Manning/PA)

She said: “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?”

She said: “It’s going be awful today.

“I woke up absolutely sick to my stomach. Like I just feel this hospital have so much to answer for and I don’t really know what else to say today.”

Her son’s life support is due to be turned off at 11am.

Archie Battersbee court case
Archie Battersbee is due to have his life support withdrawn in hospital on Thursday (Hollie Dance/PA)

The child has been in a coma since he was found unconscious at his home in Southend, Essex, on April 7 and is being kept alive by a combination of medical interventions, including ventilation and drug treatments, at the hospital in Whitechapel, east London.

Ms Dance believes Archie was taking part in an online challenge, and has not regained consciousness since.

Barts Health NHS Trust has said the boy’s condition is too unstable for a transfer and that moving him by ambulance to a different setting “would most likely hasten the premature deterioration the family wish to avoid, even with full intensive care equipment and staff on the journey”.

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