'Will fight to the end': Archie Battersbee's parents to challenge court's decision to end his life support
The parents of 12-year-old Archie Battersbee, Hollie Dance, 46, and Paul Battersbee, 57, have said they will challenge the Court of Appeal’s ruling to stop their son’s life support from being turned off at noon on Tuesday, August 2. It happens after a United Nations committee rejected Archie's parents' desperate attempt to keep him alive. Speaking outside the Royal London hospital after the verdict, Dance said they would challenge the ruling. She said, “We made a promise to Archie, that we will fight to the end. And Archie’s still fighting. If [Tuesday’s] the last day then so be it, but we will be applying to the supreme court.”
On April 7, 2022, Archie suffered a catastrophic injury in his Southend, Essex, house. He had a ligature over his head when he was discovered unconscious. It is thought that his participation in an online asphyxiation challenge may have been the cause of the ligature. Hollie Dance, Archie's mother, discovered him unresponsive. He was seen by a doctor at the Royal London Hospital. He has been in a vegetative state ever since the accident and hasn't awakened, according to Sky News.
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According to The Times, Archie has been declared "brain-stem dead" by doctors. Brain death, also known as brain stem death is a state in which a person is on an artificial life support machine and no longer has any brain functions. The continuation of life support therapy, according to doctors, is not in his best interests. When the High Court earlier decided that Archie should discontinue receiving life support because he is "brain-stem dead", his parents disagreed. They vowed to continue fighting.
The most recent hearing was approved following a request made by Archie's parents that he continue receiving life-sustaining care while the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) evaluated his case. The UK government then requested that the court take the motion into consideration in a letter. However, in delivering the court of appeal's decision, Sir Andrew McFarlane, who was sitting with two other judges, stated, “Every day that [Archie] continues to be given life-sustaining treatment is against his best interests… I concluded that there should be no stay other than a short stay for the parents to take stock and consider whether they want to make any further application to the supreme court.”
However, Dance argued that it would not be just for her son to turn off the life support. She said, “I’ve got my son’s best interests at heart - Paul, and the siblings - nobody else has got Archie’s best interests at heart. And I say, and I still stand by it, Archie’s best interests would be to allow that child time to recover. If he doesn’t recover he doesn’t recover, but give him time to recover.”
Meanwhile, Alistair Chesser, chief medical officer for Barts Health NHS Trust, said, “Our heartfelt sympathies and condolences remain with Archie’s family at this difficult time. We are following the direction of the courts, so no changes will be made to Archie’s care whilst the family appeal to the Supreme Court, though we will prepare to withdraw treatment after mid-day tomorrow unless directed otherwise.”