Government intervention over Archie Battersby’s withdrawal from treatment


According to a letter seen by the PA news agency, the government intervened at the last minute in the case of a 12-year-old boy whose life-support treatment was to be withdrawn.

Archie Battersby’s treatment at the Royal London Hospital in east London is expected to end at 2pm on Monday, but the government’s legal department has asked the High Court to “immediately consider” a UN request to stop it. “Do it.

The department said it had received a request from the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on Friday, seeking time to consider Archie’s case following the family’s request.

Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, sent a letter to the family at the weekend telling them their treatment would end at 2pm on August 1.

The government letter, written by the health secretary, read: “In the circumstances, we wish to draw the attention of the court for urgent consideration of the (UN) Committee’s request for interim measures.

“Since the Family Division has taken over this matter, and the Trust is acting as ordered by the court, we request that this letter be immediately brought before an outside judge and/or if possible, Mr. Justice. To be placed in front. Hayden.”

Holly Dance has written to the health secretary (Dominic Lipinski/PA). / PA Wire

It comes after Archie’s mother, Holly Dance, urged the health secretary to “act urgently” to end the treatment, saying it would be “a flagrant breach” of his rights. .

The family said withholding treatment would be a breach of the UK’s obligations under international human rights law.

Archie’s parents have asked the hospital owners to continue the treatment until the UN takes up the case.

A High Court judge had previously ruled that it was in Archie’s best interests to end treatment after reviewing the evidence.

After the government letter, Ms Dance said: “We are pleased that the government has taken the UN intervention seriously. This was not a ‘request’ but a mandate for interim measures from the UN.”

“The anxiety of being told that Archie’s life support will be taken off tomorrow at 2pm has been terrifying. We are already broken and not knowing what is going to happen next is worrying.”

Archie’s parents are supported by campaign organisation, the Christian Legal Centre.

Ms Dance and Paul Battersby, who are separated but both live in Southend, Essex, failed to persuade Court of Appeal judges to overturn the decision and Supreme Court judges refused to intervene. is given

A letter from Barts to the family said: “We understand that any discussion about withdrawing Archie from treatment would be very difficult and painful.

“However, we want to make sure you and your family are as involved as you want to be.”

Ms Dance and Mr Battersby will be told on Monday morning how the return process will be carried out, with the aim “to preserve Archie’s dignity”, the letter said.

It continued: “You or any of the family would like to lie by Archie’s bed or hold him in your arms, if that is practicable.”

A letter was also sent to Paul Battersby (James Manning/PA) / PA Wire

Writing to Health Secretary Stephen Barclay on Saturday, Ms Dance said: “If this were to happen, it would be an extraordinary cruelty, and a clear breach of Archie’s rights as a disabled person.

“Archie is entitled to have decisions about his life and death, made by the NHS and the UK courts, scrutinized by an international human rights body. To prevent his death It would be absolutely unacceptable to rush.

“I am confident that you will now, as a member of the government responsible for the NHS, act urgently to ensure that, and that our country respects its obligations under international human rights treaties. which we have signed and ratified.”

We as a family are very disappointed that the management of the trust has chosen to hide behind flattery and mislead the public. It is hard to see any reason for this behavior other than knowing that what they are doing is cruel and wrong.

Jurors in London heard that Ms Dance found Archie unconscious with a ligature on his head on April 7.

She thinks he might be taking part in an online challenge.

The young man was unconscious.

Doctors treating Archie believe he is brain-stem dead and say that continued life support treatment is not in his best interest.

Barts Health NHS Trust chief medical officer Alastair Chaser said on Friday that “further delay” in providing Archie with “curative care” without a court order would not be appropriate.

In response, the family accused Mr Chaser of making “misleading” claims.

Barts Health NHS Trust has been contacted for comment, as has the Judiciary Press Office.

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.”