Archie Battersbee’s Parents Lose Supreme Court Order to Delay Treatment Withdrawal

Archie Battersbee (Hollie Dance/PA) (PA Media)

Archie Battersbee’s parents missed an attempt by the Supreme Court to delay the withdrawal of his life support treatment, pending a review of his case by a UN committee.

The 12-year-old boy 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, received a hearing in the Court of Appeal on Monday after the government asked judges to urgently consider a request by a UN committee to continue treating Archie while it looks at his case.

However, after considering the matter, three judges refused to delay the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment beyond noon on Tuesday.

They also refused to grant permission to appeal their decision to the Supreme Court.

Mrs. Dance and Mr. Battersbee filed an application directly with the Supreme Court, asking for his treatment to continue so that the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) could have time to consider his complaint, which he filed last week.

But, refusing permission to appeal, a three-judge panel concluded that the Court of Appeal “made the right decision.”

On Tuesday night, Mrs. Dance said the Barts Health NHS Trust will begin withdrawing Archie’s life support on Wednesday at 11 am unless the family has filed an application with the European Court of Human Rights by 9 am.

She said in a statement: “Unfortunately, the hospital trust told us tonight that we cannot transfer Archie to a hospice.

“We want to make an urgent request to the European Court of Human Rights, but the trust is saying that this must be filed at 9 am, which does not give us and our lawyers time to prepare it.

“They also demand to see a copy, which they have no right to see. However, if it doesn’t, they say they will withdraw the treatment tomorrow morning at 11am. This is cruel and we are absolutely shocked.”

In a lengthy statement announcing their decision, Lords Hodge, Kitchin and Stephens on the Supreme Court said: “As this panel stated in its determination note last week, the justices have great sympathy for the plight of Archie’s devoted parents which circumstance that is every parent’s nightmare – the loss of a much-loved child.”

The judges continued: “It must be borne in mind that unfortunately the central issue between Archie’s parents, on the one hand, and the NHS Trust, which is supported by Archie’s very experienced guardian, was not about Archie’s recovery. , but about the time and manner of his death.

“As Sir Andrew MacFarlane noted in his previous judgment of 25 July, there is no prospect of any significant recovery.

Let’s fight until the end

Hollie Dance

“Even if life-sustaining treatment was continued, Archie would die within the next few weeks from organ failure and then heart failure.

“The maintenance of the medical regimen, as (Judge Hayden) held in his very sympathetic judgment, ‘only serves to prolong his death.’

“That conclusion was one that the judge reached only ‘with the deepest regret’.”

The panel concluded: “In accordance with the law of England and Wales, Archie’s best interests and well-being are of paramount consideration.

“The panel comes to this conclusion with a heavy heart and wishes to extend its deepest sympathy to Archie’s parents at this very sad time.”

Mrs. Dance said that she and Mr. Battersbee were “extremely disappointed” with the Supreme Court’s decision.

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

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

In a statement issued by the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting legal action by Archie’s parents, she said: “No authority other than the UN CRPD has shown any compassion or understanding towards us as a family.

“We will fight to the end.”

Speaking outside the hospital, she left the door open for another legal challenge to keep her 12-year-old son’s life support from being cut off.

Mrs. Dance told reporters the family is exploring yet another legal option, but “this really is kind of the end.”

She added: “I can honestly say that Archie would be very, very disappointed in our justice systems.

“This is someone’s child… they’re not just taking a child from me and Paul, they’re destroying the whole family.

“It’s not right, it’s not right, and something needs to be done – reform desperately needs to be happening in this country.”

Alistair Chesser, Medical Director of the Barts Health NHS Trust, said: “Our deepest condolences remain with Archie’s family.

We don’t understand what the rush is and why all our desires are being denied

Hollie Dance

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

“Our goal is to provide the best support possible to everyone in this difficult time.”

Ms Dance said earlier on Tuesday: “We are having to fight through every decision with the hospital.

“There is nothing dignified about how we are being treated like family in this situation. We don’t understand what the rush is and why all our desires are being denied.

“I know Archie is still with us. Archie is showing very different signs than what doctors are actually putting out in court.

“He’s there a lot, he’s progressing in so many ways.”

A spokesperson for the Christian Legal Center said the Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, has confirmed it will not take any action to withdraw treatment until the Supreme Court reaches a decision.

Archie’s treatment was due to be withdrawn on Monday after a Supreme Court judge concluded it would be “legal” and in his best interest, and the family had exhausted all avenues of appeal.

The Court of Appeal refused permission to challenge that decision last week, but the case was taken back to court on Monday after the UNCRPD requested that the government “refrain from withdrawing” Archie’s treatment while it considers the complaint. Of your parents.

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

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

A letter sent Sunday on behalf of Health Secretary Steve Barclay urged the court to urgently review the matter in light of the committee’s request.

However, Sir Andrew McFarlane, President of the Family Division of the Supreme Court, said on Monday that 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 UK law … and it is inappropriate for this court to apply an international treaty not incorporated into its decision-making process.

“Every day that (Archie) continues to receive life-sustaining treatment is contrary to his best interests and therefore a stay, even for a short period of time, is against his best interests.”

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

Archie was found unconscious at his home by his mother on April 7 and has not regained consciousness since. She believes he was participating in an online challenge.

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