Archie Battersby’s family to apply for ‘last minute’ hospice transfer

The family of 12-year-old Archie Battersby has vowed to “fight” to get him into hospice, insisting they be allowed to choose where he spends “his final moments”.

after the rejection by the European Court of Human Rights of their latest attempt to delay the removal of life support, the family now intends to apply to the High Court of London to have him removed from the Royal London Hospital.

The boy’s mother, Holly Dance, said she felt “absolutely devastated” after the European Court of Justice ruled not to intervene on Wednesday evening.

A spokesman for the family told the PA news agency that the Barts Health NHS Trust said Archie’s life support system would be turned off at 11:00 a.m. Thursday unless a legal application was made to move to a hospice by 9:00 a.m.

She confirmed that the family intends to make such a claim, calling it “totally barbaric and absolutely disgusting that we’re not even allowed to choose where Archie spends his final moments.”

The child has been in a coma since he was found unconscious in April and is being kept alive by a combination of medical interventions, including ventilation and medication, at a hospital in Whitechapel, east London.


Archie Battersby with his mother Holly Dance (Family Handout/PA)

The trust said Archie’s condition is too unstable to transfer, and that moving him by ambulance to another location “is likely to hasten the premature deterioration that the family wants to avoid, even with full intensive care equipment and staff en route.”

A High Court ruling in July requires Archie to remain at the Royal London Hospital while his treatment is stopped.

A spokesman for the family said the hospice agreed to take him in, adding: “Hospices are well and truly dedicated to palliative and respite care.

“Archie is obviously in palliative care right now, so there’s no reason for him not to spend his final moments in hospice.”

Ms. Dance said she wants her son to have a “honorable end in a hospice,” adding that it’s “unfair” that they have to “fight” to get him out of the hospital.

Breaking into tears when she expressed her reaction to the decision of the European Court, she said: “The only thing I will say is that I promised him that I would fight to the end, and that is what I did.”


Archie Battersby’s parents have been involved in a number of lawsuits over their son’s condition (Hollie Dance/PA)

Ms Dance filed an application with the European Court of Justice along with Archie’s father, Paul Battersby, just hours before the Barts Health NHS Trust was expected Wednesday to turn off their son’s life support system.

Asked by reporters outside the hospital if this defeat was something else, she said, “This is the end. It was the last one, right? Once again, our country has failed a 12-year-old child.”

She claimed that the hospital had also “let down” her son, saying, “I would like him to get out of here as soon as possible and in a peaceful hospice say goodbye and spend time with his family without being distracted by the noise and chaos. ”

The Barts Health NHS Trust didn’t say anything when asked about the life support shutdown.

Ms. Dance said she “wouldn’t let” anything be done until Archie’s father was back at his hospital bed on Thursday.

UK Supreme Court judges have previously said they have “great sympathy” for Archie’s parents, but added that “there is no chance of any meaningful recovery”.

Ms. Dance and Mr. Battersby have been involved in a number of legal proceedings in relation to their son’s condition.


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

The mother found the boy unconscious on April 7 at her home, and since then he has not regained consciousness. She believes that he took part in an online challenge.

Ms. Dance and Mr. Battersby were granted an appeals hearing on Monday after the government asked judges to urgently consider a UN committee’s request to continue treating Archie while he considers his case.

However, after reviewing the case, three judges refused to delay the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment after Tuesday afternoon.

They also refused to give permission to appeal their decision to the Supreme Court.

They filed an application directly with the Supreme Court asking for his continued treatment so that the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) could have time to consider their complaint filed last week.

But in denying leave to appeal, a three-judge panel concluded that the Court of Appeal had “made the right decision.”

On Wednesday, in its decision, the European Court said it would not “intervene in the decisions of national courts to allow the withdrawal of (Archie’s) life-sustaining treatment.”