Archie Battersbee’s family appeared defeated outside the boy’s hospital after their final bid to prolong the child’s life was rejected.
12-year-old Archie was left in a coma hooked to life support after suffering major brain damage. After the boy was declared brain dead, Royal London Hospital decided to pull the plug on his life support in contradiction to his parents’ wishes who wanted to give their child a fighting chance.
After taking the case to the judges, the hospital’s ruling was upheld by the High Court, Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court. Finally, the parents’ appeal was also rejected by the European Convention on Human Rights judges, meaning that the family now has little time to say their goodbyes before Archie’s life support is switched off.
Breaking into tears outside her son’s hospital, Hollie Dance called the rejected appeal ‘the end’ and suggested the family will now fight to have Archie moved to a hospital to spend his final moments in a more peaceful environment.
“We think it is completely barbaric and absolutely disgusting that we’re not even allowed to choose where Archie takes his last moments,” the family’s spokesperson said.
“Hospices are well and truly designed for palliative and respite care. Archie is now obviously on palliative care so there is no reason whatsoever for him not to take his last moments at a hospice. The hospice has said that they will take him.”
While it is believed that Barts Health NHS Trust previously promised to give the family a chance to have the boy moved to hospice care, officials now say Archie’s condition is too unstable for transfer and would likely result in hastening the child’s deterioration.
“We’ve now got a fight to see whether we can get him out of here to have a dignified passing at a hospice. It’s just unfair,” Dance said outside the hospital.
“Now I would like him out of this hospital. He came to this hospital to have an operation, this hospital failed him.
“So, I would like him out of here as quick as possible really. And in a peaceful hospice to say goodbye and spend time with his family, uninterrupted by the noise and chaos. The one thing I will say is, I promised him I’d fight to the end and that’s exactly what I’ve done.”
Accepting that nothing more can be done to prolong the boy’s life, the distraught mother added: “It’s the end, it was the last thing, wasn’t it, and again our country have failed a 12-year-old child.”
Following the European judges’ rejection of the family’s appeal, Barts Health NHS Trust insisted it is time to “work with the family to prepare the withdrawal of Archie’s treatment.”
“Our deepest sympathies remain with Archie’s family and we aim to provide the best possible support to everyone at this difficult time,” Chief Medical Officer Alistair Chesser said.
“As directed by the courts, we will work with the family to prepare for the withdrawal of treatment, but we will make no changes to Archie’s care until the outstanding legal issues are resolved.”
Chesser also confirmed that the family now has until 9 am on August 4 to appeal to the High Court to have Archie moved to a hospice. Unless the application pulls through, the 12-year-old’s life support will be turned off at 11 am.
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