Archie Battersby’s parents lose High Court battle over hospice transfer

Archie Battersby’s parents have lost a High Court motion to put him in hospice before his life-sustaining treatment is discontinued.

A 12-year-old boy has been in a coma since his mother found him unconscious in April and is currently being kept alive through a combination of medical interventions, including ventilation and medication, at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London. .

His parents were engaged in a lengthy legal battle over the withdrawal of treatment, which ultimately collapsed on Wednesday when the European Court of Human Rights refused to intervene.

His mother Holly Dance and father Paul Battersby filed an urgent application to have him transferred to a hospice to die, resulting in the hearing continuing until late Thursday evening.


Holly Dance (James Manning/PA)

But in Friday morning’s ruling, Ms. Judge Theis concluded that the move was not in Archie’s best interests.

The judge said: “Archie’s best interests must remain at the heart of any conclusions reached by this court.

“Given the wishes of the family, why those wishes are being met, the conditions at the hospice, what Archie likely wanted, … the risks involved in the transfer … and the growing fragility of his medical condition, I am satisfied that, when reconsidering balancing, his best interests remain such as it is indicated (in the order of 15 July) that he must remain in the hospital after the termination of treatment.

“The circumstances outlined by Dr. F regarding the physical arrangement at the hospital and the measures that may be taken ensure that Archie’s best interests remain the focus of final arrangements that allow him to die peacefully and confidentially in the arms of the family he loved.

“The parents, in an email from their lawyers dated August 2, confirmed in principle their willingness to cooperate in these arrangements.”

The child has been in a coma since he was found unconscious at his home in Southend, Essex on April 7.

Ms. Dance believes he took part in an online challenge when he fell ill. Since then, he has not regained consciousness.


Holly Dance, mother of 12-year-old Archie Battersby, speaks to the media outside the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London. (James Manning/PA)

Ms Dance said on Thursday she wants her son to “spend his last moments” alone with his family, complaining about the lack of privacy in the hospital.

On Thursday, she told Times Radio: “We don’t even have the opportunity to be in the same room as a family without nurses.”

She added: “There is absolutely no privacy, so again, the courts keep talking about this dignified death – why are we not allowed to take our child to a hospice and spend his last minutes, his last days together alone?

“Why is the hospital interfering with this?”


Archie Battersby has been in the hospital since April (Hollie Dance/PA)

The Barts Health NHS 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 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 family spokesman said the hospice had agreed to take him in.