Archie’s mother heartbroken by failed bid to postpone withdrawal of life support

Archie Battersbee’s mother has called the refusal of her offer to delay her son’s removal from life support “another heartbreaking development” and suggested the legal battle is over.

Ollie Dance and Archie’s father, Paul Battersbee, had submitted an application to the European Court of Human Rights, which was rejected on Wednesday evening.

The 12-year-old has been in a coma since he was found unconscious in April and is being kept alive through a combination of medical interventions, including ventilation and drug treatment, at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London.


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

His parents’ application to the Strasbourg court was made just hours before Barts Health NHS Trust was expected to remove their son’s life support on Wednesday morning.

But just after 6.30pm, the European Court of Justice said it had rejected the parents’ request, adding that it “would not interfere with the decisions of national courts to proceed with[Archie]’s withdrawal of life support”.

There is still no confirmation from Barts Health NHS Trust as to when life support will be removed.

Following the European Court’s decision, Ms Dance said in a statement released by Christian Concern: “This is another heartbreaking development in our fight for Archie’s right to life.”

She reiterated that they had been contacted by doctors in Japan and Italy about her son’s condition, adding, “Why can’t we give him a chance?”

Ms Dance reiterated her vow to “fight to the end for Archie’s right to live” and said the family had wanted to place the boy in a hospice, “but the hospital has said that despite previous promises we cannot do it”.


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

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

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 Archie’s father, Paul Battersbee, have been involved in a number of legal efforts relating to their son’s condition.

He was found unconscious at 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.


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

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”. Archie’s mother heartbroken by failed bid to postpone withdrawal of life support

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