Archie Battersbee's LAST CHANCE TO SURVIVE: Parents launch final effort to save son as UN steps in
The United Nations granted an order to prevent the removal of 12-year-old Archie Battersbee's life support, giving his parents the last chance in their battle to save their son's life. Archie's parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee have petitioned the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNRPD) to overturn the UK physicians' decision to stop the child from receiving mechanical assistance.
The traumatized pair lost battles in London's High Court and Court of Appeal, where they demanded that physicians continue their therapy. Archie's family stated that discontinuing his treatments would violate Articles 10 and 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Article 6 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Children, which the UK is obligated to uphold.
On July 29, after the announcement was made public, Dance expressed her appreciation for being given a second chance to save her son's life. "I am so grateful to the UN for their response and acting so quickly for my son. We have been under so much stress and anxiety; we are already broken and the not knowing what was going to happen next was excruciating. To get this news now means everything.
"This is the first time this has ever happened in the history of this inhumane system in the UK. There have been so many ups and downs, but we have put on the full armour of God, gone into the battle and now we have given Archie time. That is all we have ever asked for," Dance said.
In their appeal, they requested that doctors be prohibited from disconnecting his life support system until they could file a plea, but the Supreme Court denied their request on July 28. Since then, they have spoken with administrators at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, where he is receiving treatment, in an attempt to get guarantees that this won't occur while they file an appeal with the UNRPD.
The UNRPD protocol, according to Archie's parents, permits individuals and families to file complaints regarding rights abuses involving people with disabilities. Due to the UK's ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the UNRPD is now able to request that the UK ministry postpone the removal of life support while an investigation into a complaint is ongoing.
Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, has been a constant support to Archie's family. She said, "We are delighted with the response from the UN. It is high time that the UK's processes around proactively ending children's lives came under international scrutiny. We now hope and pray that the UN Committee may do justice to Archie and his family, as well as to other disabled people in UK hospitals in future cases. "
"Life is the most precious gift we have. We have stood with the family from the beginning three months ago following the tragedy and now continue to pray for this beautiful boy, Archie, and for everyone involved," she added.
Judges have been informed that on April 7, Dance discovered Archie unresponsive with a noose around his head. She speculates that he may have been participating in an online competition. Archie is still unconscious and is being treated by medical professionals at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, East London. The doctors believe he is brain-stem dead and that keeping him on a ventilator is not for his own good.
Executives at the hospital's controlling trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, had requested judgments regarding the best course of treatment for Archie.
Initially considering the issue, High Court judge Justice Arbuthnot came to the conclusion that Archie had died. However, the Court of Appeal judges accepted his parents' objection to Justice Arbuthnot's judgments and ruled that the facts should be reconsidered by a new High Court judge.
As they filed their final appeal, Dance said, "Words cannot describe how devastated we are. The pressure put on us from the beginning to rush through the process of ending Archie's life has been disgraceful. All we have ever asked for is for more time. The urgency from the hospital and the courts is unexplained when other parties have been happy for us to have more time. I don't believe there is anything "dignified" about planning Archie's death. For me, this would be the most traumatic outcome."
She added: "Parents need support not pressure. It is exhausting what we have been through. We should not have to endlessly battle the hospital in the courts for what we believe is right for Archie. Top judges have told us, however, that this is the law, if this so, the law must change. We will continue fighting for Archie, we will not give up and now await the response from the UNRPD."