UK

Archie Battersbee: High Court denies request for boy on life support to be moved to hospice

The High Court has denied a request for Archie Battersbee to be moved to a hospice.

It comes after the family of the 12-year-old filed a last-minute bid to have him moved to die in a hospice “with dignity” rather than in a hospital.

Ruling that the 12-year-old should remain in hospital while his life-sustaining treatment is withdrawn, Ms Justice Theis said: “Archie’s best interests must remain at the core of any conclusions reached by this court.

She added that risk involved in a transfer and “the increasing fragility of his medical condition” meant it was in his “best interests” to remain in hospital.

“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 judge also refused permission to appeal against her ruling, after lawyers for the family requested it.

The family may now pursue a challenge directly with the Court of Appeal, and Mrs Justice Theis granted a stay on the withdrawal of treatment until 2pm on Friday to allow time for an appeal to be lodged.

Doctors treating the schoolboy for the last 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.

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refused an application from the boy’s parents on Wednesday to delay any changes to his treatment, which is due to be withdrawn from 11am on Thursday.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 family privately.

Speaking to Times Radio hours before her son’s life support is due to be turned off, 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?

“Why is the hospital obstructing it?”

She said: “It’s going be awful today.

“I woke up absolutely sick to my stomach. Like I just feel this hospital have so much to answer for and I don’t really know what else to say today.”

The child has been in a coma since he was found unconscious at his home in Southend, Essex, on 17 April and is being kept alive by a combination of medical interventions, including ventilation and drug treatments, at the hospital in Whitechapel, east London.

Ms Dance believes he was taking part in an online challenge at the time he became ill. He has not regained consciousness since.

Barts Health NHS Trust has said Archie’s condition is too unstable for a transfer and that moving him by ambulance to a different setting “would most likely hasten the premature deterioration the family wish to avoid, even with full intensive care equipment and staff on the journey”.

A High Court order made in July requires that Archie remains at the Royal London Hospital while his treatment is withdrawn.

Hollie Dance, mother of 12-year-old Archie Battersbee

Xural.com

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