Archie Battersbee’s family to apply to move him to hospice for ‘last moments’

12-year-old Archie Battersbee’s family have pledged to “fight” to get him into hospice and insisted they get to choose where he spends “his final moments”.

After the European Court of Human Rights rejected their latest attempt to have his life support removed, the family now intends to apply to the High Court in London for transfer from the Royal London Hospital.

The boy’s mother, Hollie Dance, said she felt “absolutely disheartened” after the European court’s decision on Wednesday night not to intervene in the case.

A family spokeswoman told the PA news agency that Barts Health NHS Trust said Archie’s life support would be taken off at 11am Thursday unless a legal application regarding the hospice move is made by 9am.

She confirmed the family’s intentions to submit such a request, describing it as “completely barbaric and absolutely disgusting that we are not even allowed to choose where Archie spends his final moments.”

The child has been in a coma since being found unconscious in April and is being kept alive at hospital in Whitechapel, east London, with a combination of medical interventions, including ventilation and drug treatment.


Archie Battersbee with his mother Hollie Dance (Family Handout/PA)

The Trust has said Archie’s condition is too unstable for transfer and that being transported by ambulance to a different area “would most likely hasten the premature deterioration which the family wishes to avoid, even with full critical care equipment and staff on the journey”.

A High Court order issued in July requires Archie to remain at the Royal London Hospital while his treatment is suspended.

The family spokeswoman said a hospice has agreed to take him, adding: “Hospices are really designed for palliative and respite care.

“Archie is obviously in palliative care now so there is absolutely no reason for him not to spend his final moments in a hospice.”

Ms Dance said she wanted her son to have a “dignified death in a hospice”, adding it was “unfair” that they had to “fight” to get him out of hospital.

She wept as she gave her reaction to the European Court’s decision, saying: “The only thing I will say is that I promised him I would fight to the end and that’s exactly what I did.”


Archie Battersbee’s parents have been embroiled in a number of legal efforts regarding their son’s condition (Image: Hollie Dance/PA)

Ms Dance had filed the application with Archie’s father, Paul Battersbee, in European courts just hours before Barts Health NHS Trust was due to withdraw their son’s life support on Wednesday.

When asked by reporters outside the hospital if this defeat felt any different, she said: “It’s the end. It was the last, wasn’t it? And again our country has failed a 12-year-old child.”

She claimed the hospital had also “abandoned” her son, saying: “I really want him to get out of here as soon as possible and say goodbye to a peaceful hospice and spend time with his family, undisturbed by the noise and chaos. ”

Barts Health NHS Trust gave no update when asked about being taken off life support.

Ms Dance said she will “not allow” anything to be done before Archie’s father returns to his bedside at the hospital on Thursday.

UK Supreme Court justices previously said they had “great sympathy” for Archie’s parents but added that there was “no prospect of a meaningful recovery”.

Ms Dance and Mr Battersbee have been involved in a number of legal endeavors relating to their son’s condition.


Hollie Dance vowed to fight for her son “to the end” (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The boy was found unconscious in his home by his mother on April 7 and has not regained consciousness since. She thinks he took part in an online challenge.

Ms Dance and Mr Battersbee were granted a hearing at the Court of Appeal on Monday after the government asked judges to urgently consider a request from a UN committee to give Archie further hearing while he considers his case.

However, after reviewing the matter, three judges refused to delay the removal of life support beyond noon Tuesday.

They also refused to allow an appeal of their decision to the Supreme Court.

They filed an application directly with the Supreme Court, asking for his treatment to continue so that the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) would have time to consider their complaint filed last week.

However, a panel of three judges refused leave to appeal, concluding that the Court of Appeals “made the right decision”.

On Wednesday, the European Court of Justice said in its ruling that it “would not interfere with the decisions of national courts to continue the withdrawal of (Archie)’s life-sustaining treatment.” Archie Battersbee’s family to apply to move him to hospice for ‘last moments’

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