Family of Archie Battersbee ask court to let him die ‘with dignity’ in hospice | UK news

The family of 12-year-old Archie Battersbee have lodged a court application to have him moved to die “with dignity” in a hospice rather than in a hospital.

The family have exhausted all legal routes to postpone the withdrawal of Archie’s life support, after the European court of human rights said it would not interfere in the decision of the UK courts.

On Thursday, a family spokesperson confirmed lawyers had lodged a final application to the high court in London to transfer Archie from the Royal London hospital to a hospice.

Earlier, the boy’s mother, Hollie Dance, said she wanted her son to “spend his last moments” privately with family.

She told Times Radio: “The courts keep going on about this dignified death – why aren’t we allowed to take our child to a hospice and spend his last moments, his last days, together privately?”

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 drug treatments.

The trust has said Archie’s condition is too unstable for a transfer and that moving him by ambulance to a different setting “would most likely hasten the premature deterioration the family wish to avoid, even with full intensive care equipment and staff on the journey”.

The hospital told the family that Archie’s life support would be withdrawn at 11am on Thursday unless a legal application regarding the hospice move is submitted by 9am.

Dance accused the hospital of sending out a threatening letter about the end of his treatment.

She said: “The letter that went out quite sort of late yesterday evening saying … ‘You’ve got till 9 o’clock’, leaving the lawyers again under pressure, which is what this hospital has done from day one.”

Asked what Thursday would be like, she grew tearful and said: “It’s going be awful today. I woke up absolutely sick to my stomach. Like I just feel this hospital have so much to answer for and I don’t really know what else to say today.”

She added: “I wouldn’t want any other parents to go through what we’ve gone through, which is why I have tried to highlight quite a lot of subjects since we’ve been here, like the online challenge, and I know that so, so many people have sat their kids down and used Archie’s story to hopefully save their lives.

“So I’m going to continue to make sure Archie’s name lives on. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that parents don’t have to go through this awful situation with the courts.”

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The attorney general, Suella Braverman, said the case was “incredibly heartbreaking” but insisted parents had sufficient legal rights and the courts would have looked at the issues “incredibly thoroughly”.

She told Sky News: “I must just put on record my deepest sympathies for the family of Archie Battersbee, I cannot begin to imagine what he and his family have been going through.”

She added: “I think generally, yes, parents do have sufficient rights. The legal presumption is that parents are acting in the best interest of their children until or unless proved otherwise.

“These [cases] are not straightforward. They’re highly, highly complex matters involving detailed issues of medicine, and medical ethics, as well as the child’s welfare.

“And I have confidence that our courts and our judges will have looked at these issues incredibly thoroughly, incredibly sensitively, and have reached the right decision.”

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