Archie Battersbee’s medical treatment to end Monday despite family’s pleas

Archie Battersbee’s medical treatment to end Monday despite family’s pleas
12-year-old has been on life support for nearly four months

A boy who has been on life support for nearly four months will have his ventilator turned off on Monday, the hospital caring for him has said.

Archie Battersbee has been in intensive care since April when he was found unconscious at his home in Essex.

The Royal Hospital in east London said in a letter to his parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, that “all fluid infusions, medications, including vasopressin will be stopped” at 2pm on 1 August.

Doctors caring for the boy have said he is brain dead and will not wake up.

Keeping him on a ventilator, a machine which keeps the lungs functioning, would not be in his best interests, the medics argued.

The decision comes despite pleas and a series of legal bids by Archie’s parents to keep him on life support.

On Monday, judges at the appeal court in London ruled that doctors could lawfully disconnect his ventilator.

Ms Dance and Mr Battersbee, who are separated but both living in Southend, Essex, made an application to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities after their UK legal challenge failed.

The intergovernmental organisation subsequently requested that Archie’s life support be allowed to continue while it considers his case.

Archie’s parents also made an appeal to Steve Barclay, the UK’s secretary of state for health, arguing that turning off his life support would be a “flagrant” breach of his rights.

In its letter, the Royal Hospital said: “We understand that any discussions around the withdrawal of Archie’s treatment are very difficult and painful.

“However, we want to ensure that you and your family are involved as much as you wish to be.”

Ms Dance and Mr Battersbee, who are being supported by the campaign organisation Christian Legal Centre, will be told on Monday morning how the withdrawal process will be performed, with the aim to “preserve Archie’s dignity”.

Judges in London heard that Ms Dance found Archie unconscious with a ligature over his head on 7 April. She thinks he might have been taking part in an online challenge.

He never regained consciousness.

Alistair Chesser, chief medical officer for Barts Health NHS Trust, said on Friday that “further delay” in starting to provide “palliative care” to Archie would “not be appropriate” without a court order.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We recognise this is an exceptionally difficult time for Archie Battersbee’s family and our thoughts are with them.

“We have received the letter and will respond in due course.”