Archie Battersbee’s parents turn to European Court of Human Rights

The 12-year-old has been in a coma since he was found unconscious by his mother in April.

02 August 2022

Archie Battersbee’s parents have said they will submit an application to the European Court of Human Rights in a bid to postpone the withdrawal of his life support.

The 12-year-old has been in a coma since he was found unconscious by his mother in April 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.

His parents, Hollie Dance and Paul 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.

Archie Battersbee court case
Archie Battersbee is pictured prior to his injury (Hollie Dance/PA)

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”.

On Tuesday evening, Ms Dance said Barts Health NHS Trust will begin to withdraw Archie’s life support on Wednesday at 11am unless the family has submitted an application to the European Court of Human Rights by 9am.

Ms Dance told the PA news agency: “Our solicitors will be filing to the European Court of Human Rights. They’ve been given a strict timeline of 9am. Again, no time whatsoever.

“Every single court case we’ve had we’ve had no time at all, one or two days to prepare and get the whole case together.”

She said that their legal team described the attitude of the hospital as “brutal” and had claimed he had been refused a hospice.

Supreme Court judges said they have “great sympathy” Archie’s parents, but added that there is “no prospect of any meaningful recovery”.

Alistair Chesser, chief medical officer for Barts Health NHS Trust, said: “Our deepest sympathies remain with Archie’s family.

“As directed by the courts, we will now work with the family to prepare for the withdrawal of treatment.

“We aim to provide the best possible support to everyone at this difficult time.”

Archie 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.

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