Archie Battersbee’s life support to be turned off after parents lose legal bid

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Archie Battersbee's life support will be switched off tomorrow, a last-minute Court of Appeal hearing has ruled.

The hearing came after the Government asked the court to “urgently consider” a request from the UN to continue the 12-year-old's treatment.

Archie was due to have his life support switched off at the Royal London Hospital at 2pm today (August 1) after a High Court judge ruled it was in his best interests.

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The Court of Appeal backed that decision, leading his family to turn to the UN in a last ditch attempt to overturn it.

Tragically for Archie's parents, their last-gasp attempt to prolong his chances of recovery were denied on Monday afternoon, as it was concluded the machine keeping him alive would be turned off at 12pm on Tuesday.

Lawyers representing his parents told the court today that not overturning the decision would be a “flagrant breach of international law”.

However Claire Watson QC, representing Archie’s guardian – an independent adviser appointed to represent him – disagreed.

She told the court: "The UN committee’s request to the UK Government to refrain from withdrawing life-preserving medical treatment is purely a request."

She added Archie's guardian still believed that, in light of the his “parlous” condition, it is no longer in his best interests for life support to continue.

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Archie was found unconscious with a ligature over his head on April 7 by his mother Hollie Dance.

Hollie thinks he may have been taking part in the Blackout Challenge, a disturbing online trend that sees young people try different destructive methods to cause themselves to become unconscious.

Doctors believe Archie is brain-stem dead and say continued life support is not in his best interests.

Barts Health NHS Trust told the family this weekend that they planned on ending Archie's treatment today.

Hollie said the family have had “no support whatsoever” from the trust.

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She told Sky News before today's hearing: "I know they come across to the media as supportive and compassionate. It’s very much the opposite. It’s very misleading.

"There was no meeting, sat down and broken to gently.

"It’s just caused so much stress. This could have been totally prevented and handled totally different to how it’s been handled.

"We shouldn’t have been dragged through the courts."

The trust said in the letter: “We understand that any discussions around the withdrawal of Archie’s treatment are very difficult and painful.

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“However, we want to ensure that you and your family are involved as much as you wish to be.

“You or any of the family may wish to lie on Archie’s bed with him or have him in your arms, if that should be practically possible.”

It also promised that the withdrawal process would aim to “preserve Archie’s dignity”.


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