Archie Battersbee’s treatment set to be withdrawn

Judges refused to postpone the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment beyond midday on Tuesday.

01 August 2022

Life support for Archie Battersbee is expected to be switched off on Tuesday after the Court of Appeal rejected a last-minute bid to postpone the ending of his treatment.

The 12-year-old’s parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, were granted a hearing on Monday after the Government asked judges to urgently consider a request from a UN committee to keep treating Archie.

But after considering the case, judges refused to postpone the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment beyond midday on Tuesday.

Archie Battersbee court case
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)

They also refused to grant permission to appeal against their ruling at the Supreme Court, the UK’s highest court.

Ms Dance has indicated she and Mr Battersbee will make an application for Supreme Court justices to consider their application for permission to appeal.

Archie’s care was due to end at 2pm at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel on Monday.

It came after a High Court judge previously ruled this to be in his best interests and the family exhausted all routes of appeal.

But this was delayed due to the UN committee issuing a request to the UK Government on Friday urging it to “refrain” from taking him off life support while his case is under consideration by the committee.

However, Sir Andrew McFarlane said on Monday the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, under which the UN committee made its request, is an “unincorporated international treaty”.

Sir Andrew 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.”

He added: “Every day that (Archie) continues to be given life-sustaining treatment is contrary to his best interests and, so, a stay, even for a short time, is against his best interests.”

The judge said that was the decision that has been taken in the courts of England and Wales.

Ms Dance said after the ruling that they “continue to be shocked and traumatised by the brutality of the UK courts and the hospital trust” and vowed to “continue to fight for Archie”.

Alistair Chesser, chief medical officer for Barts Health NHS Trust, said: “Our heartfelt sympathies and condolences remain with Archie’s family at this difficult time.

“We are following the direction of the courts, so no changes will be made to Archie’s care whilst the family appeal to the Supreme Court, though we will prepare to withdraw treatment after midday unless directed otherwise.”

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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