A last-minute hearing will be held on whether life support for 12-year-old Archie Battersby should be withdrawn hours before treatment ends.
The Court of Appeal has granted a virtual hearing for 11am on Monday after the government asked it to “immediately consider” a request from the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to continue her treatment. ” so that the committee can examine his case.
The young man is due to be put on life support at the Royal London Hospital in east London at 2pm on Monday, after a long legal battle in which a High Court judge ruled it was in his best interests.
The decision was later supported by the Court of Appeal and Archie’s family applied to the United Nations as a last ditch effort to stop their son’s treatment, the committee contacted the government on Friday.
A legal “curfew” has also been imposed until 1pm on Monday to prevent the treatment from ending.
Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, wrote to the family at the weekend to inform them they intended to end treatment on Monday afternoon.
Archie’s mother, Holly Dance, said the family was “comforted” that the government had taken the UN intervention seriously.
“This was not a ‘request’ but a mandate for interim measures from the United Nations,” he said.
“The anxiety of being told that Archie’s life support would be taken off tomorrow at 2pm was terrifying.
“We’re already broken and not knowing what’s going to happen next.”
Archie’s parents are being supported by campaign organization the Christian Legal Centre.
Barts Health NHS Trust chief medical officer Alastair Chaser said plans to withdraw medical treatment would continue unless the court directs otherwise on Monday.
He said: “Our deepest sympathies go out to Archie’s family at this difficult time.
“We understand that the court hearing will take place on Monday morning and we await the outcome.
“The treatment withdrawal plan will continue until the court directs otherwise.”
The trust previously said in a letter to Ms Dance and Paul Battersby, who are separated but both live in Southend, Essex, that the return process would aim to “preserve Archie’s dignity”.
The trust said in the letter: “We understand that any discussion about withdrawing Archie’s treatment is very difficult and painful.
“However, we want to make sure you and your family are as involved as you want to be.”
“You or any of the family would like to lie by Archie’s bedside or hold him in your arms, if that is practicable,” she added.
Ms Dance said it would amount to “extraordinary cruelty” and “a clear violation of Archie’s rights as a disabled person”.
She said: “Archie has the right to have his life and death decisions, taken by the NHS and UK courts, reviewed by an international human rights body.
“To hasten his death to prevent it would be completely unacceptable.”
Jurors heard Ms Dance found Archie unconscious with a ligature on his head on April 7, after she believed he had taken part in an online challenge.
Doctors believe Archie is brain-stem dead and say continued life support treatment is not in his best interest.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “We recognize that this is an exceptionally difficult time for Archie Battersby’s family and our thoughts are with them.
“The government asked the High Court to urgently consider the plea of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.”