National & International

Archie Batterbee: cannot be moved to a hospice to die

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Archie Battersbee suffered brain damage in an incident at home on 7 April and has not regained consciousness

The family of 12-year-old Archie Battersbee cannot move him to a hospice for withdrawal of treatment, a High Court judge has ruled, according to the BBC.

His family applied for permission after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) refused a request to delay the withdrawal of life-sustaining support.

Archie’s mother wanted him “in a peaceful hospice to say goodbye”.

But doctors warned he was too unstable to move by ambulance and it would “hasten premature deterioration”.

Responding to the hospice ruling, Archie’s mum, Hollie Dance, said: “All our wishes as a family have been denied by the authorities.

“We are broken, but we are keeping going because we love Archie and refuse to give up on him.”

Archie’s family said a breakdown in trust meant Archie would not die with peace and dignity in the hospital

Archie, who is being treated at the Royal London Hospital, was found unconscious at home in Southend, Essex, on 7 April – his mother believes he may have been taking part in an online challenge.

He suffered “catastrophic” brain injuries and doctors think it is “highly likely” he is brain-stem dead.

Life-sustaining support, including mechanical ventilation and drug treatments, has been in place since April.

Archie’s family asked Mrs Justice Theis, who heard evidence relating to the hospice move at a hearing on Thursday, for permission to appeal the decision but were denied.

The judge gave a delay to treatment being withdrawn until 14:00 BST Friday for the family to make an application for permission to appeal directly to the Court of Appeal.

The Court of Appeal confirmed it had received an application for permission to appeal the latest decision.

Peacefully and privately

In her ruling earlier, Mrs Justice Theis concluded it was not in Archie’s best interests to be moved.

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

“When considering the wishes of the family, why those wishes are held, the facilities at the hospice, what Archie is likely to have wanted… the risks involved in a transfer… and the increasing fragility of his medical condition, I am satisfied that… he should remain at the hospital when treatment is withdrawn.”

Mrs Justice Theis also noted Archie’s family’s “unconditional love and dedication”, which she said has been a “golden thread that runs through this case”.

“I hope now Archie can be afforded the opportunity for him to die in peaceful circumstances, with the family who meant so much to him as he clearly does to them.”

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