‘I know he’s still with us’: Supreme Court considers new appeal from Archie Battersbee’s parents

UK

Moves to end Archie Battersbee’s life support have been delayed again as his parents appealed against the withdrawal of their brain-damaged son’s treatment.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday confirmed it had received the application and would consider it as a matter of urgency.

The hospital said it would not begin withdrawing any treatment until the court ruling.

Archie’s mother Hollie Dance said: “We are having to battle over every decision with the hospital. There is nothing dignified in how we are being treated as a family in this situation. We do not understand what the rush is and why all of our wishes are being denied.

“I know Archie’s still with us. Archie’s showing very different signs to what the clinicians are actually putting over to the courts. He’s very much there, he’s progressing in so many ways.

“We pray for an encouraging response from the Supreme Court.”

Judges will now consider whether to extend his life-sustaining treatment to allow time for a United Nations committee to consider the 12-year-old’s case.

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His parents, Ms Dance and Paul Battersbee, were granted a last-minute hearing on Monday after the government asked the Court of Appeal to urgently consider a request from UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to keep treating Archie.

But after considering the case, appeal court judges refused to postpone the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment by Barts Health NHS Trust beyond midday on Tuesday.

Archie has been at the centre of a lengthy legal dispute since he was seriously injured in an incident at his home in Southend, Essex, in April.

Ms Dance found her son unconscious with a ligature over his head. She believes he took part in an online challenge.

He has not regained consciousness and has been kept alive via life support treatment.

The High Court previously ruled Archie’s treatment should come to an end because doctors treating him at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, said he was “brain-stem dead”.

The Court of Appeal upheld that decision and the Supreme Court refused to give the family more time to carry on their fight.

His family insisted the treatment continue, saying the youngster’s heart was still beating and he had gripped his mother’s hand.

His parents claim that stopping treatment would be in breach of the UK’s obligations under Articles 10 and 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, and Article 6 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Children.

These international obligations say states must take all necessary measures to ensure disabled people enjoy equal rights and that governments should do all they can to prevent the deaths of children and young people.

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