Archie Battersbee: Family lose appeal bid in fight to move him to hospice

The family of Archie Battersbee have lost their latest legal attempt to have him transferred from hospital to a hospice to die.

The 12-year-old’s parents applied to the Court of Appeal on Friday, after losing a High Court challenge to have him moved to a hospice before his life-sustaining treatment is withdrawn.

The Court of Appeal said on Friday shortly after 6.30pm that permission to appeal had been refused.

His parents have fought a long-running legal battle over the withdrawal of his treatment, which ultimately failed on Wednesday when the European Court of Human Rights refused to intervene.

Their focus then shifted to trying to get their son moved to a hospice, but in a ruling at the High Court on Friday morning, Mrs Justice Theis concluded it was not in Archie’s best interests to be moved.

Doctors said Archie was in such a grave condition that moving him to a hospice carried a “significant risk” he could die during the journey, the High Court was told.

Ruling on Friday that he should remain in hospital while his life-sustaining treatment is withdrawn, Ms Justice Theis said: “Archie’s best interests must remain at the core of any conclusions reached by this court.”

Ms Theis said due to the risks involved in a transfer and “the increasing fragility of his medical condition,” Archie should remain in the hospital when his treatment is withdrawn.

“The circumstances outlined by Dr F of the physical arrangements at the hospital and the arrangements that can be made will ensure that Archie’s best interest will remain the focus of the final arrangements to enable him peacefully and privately to die in the embrace of the family he loved,” Ms Theis said.

“The parents in the email from their solicitors on August 2 confirmed, in principle, their willingness to co-operate in these arrangements.”

Doctors treating the schoolboy for the past four months declared Archie to be “brain-stem dead”, prompting a lengthy but ultimately failed legal battle by his family to continue his life support treatment in the hope the unconscious boy would recover.

But the judges considering the application concluded: “In all respects, Theis J’s judgment deals comprehensively with each of the points raised on behalf of the parents.

“We have reached the clear conclusion that each of her decisions was right for the reasons she gave.

“It follows that the proposed appeal has no prospect of success and there is no other compelling reason for the Court of Appeal to hear an appeal.”

The family had sought permission to challenge a ruling by Mrs Justice Theis who concluded it was not in Archie’s best interests to be moved to a hospice.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) refused an application from the boy’s parents on Wednesday to delay any changes to his treatment, which was due to be withdrawn from 11am on Thursday.

Hollie Dance, the boy’s mother, said she wanted her son to “spend his last moments” together with his family privately.

Speaking to Times Radio hours before her son’s life support was due to be turned off this week, Ms Dance said that Archie’s loved ones have not been able to have privacy at the hospital, saying: “We can’t even have the chance to be in a room together as a family without nurses.”

She added: “There’s absolutely no privacy, which is why, again, the courts keep going on about this dignified death – why aren’t we allowed to take our child to a hospice and spend his last moments, his last days together privately?

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