Archie Battersbee’s life support machine to be turned off tomorrow

Archie Battersbee’s life support machine will be turned off on Wednesday morning local time (Thursday in Australia) after his parents lost their UK Supreme Court battle.

It comes as judges earlier agreed it would be unlawful to maintain the 12-year-old’s life-sustaining treatment, The Sun reports, which would only “protract” his death.

Archie’s life support is due to be switched off at 11am, according to his family.

He was due to have his treatment end at midday yesterday before an 11th hour appeal was made.

But after deliberation, Supreme Court judges agreed there is “no prospect of any meaningful recovery” for the brain-damaged boy.

Lord Hodge, the court’s deputy president, considered the application for permission to appeal alongside Lords Kitchin and Stephens – the same panel of Supreme Court justices who rejected an appeal bid by Archie’s parents last week.

However, Archie’s mum Hollie has confirmed their legal team will be submitting another application to the European Court of Human Rights by 9am local time today in a bid to postpone the withdrawal of his life support.

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“Our solicitors will be filing to the European Court of Human Rights. They’ve been given a strict timeline of 9am. Again, no time whatsoever,” Hollie said.

“We’ve asked very nicely, in a very nice manner, ‘Can we take Archie to a hospice?’ I think it’s every parent’s right to be able to take your child out of a very loud hospital for a peaceful, dignified – as they call it – a dignified death, which is what all these court cases are about, apparently, Archie’s dignity.

“Well, where’s Archie’s dignity and his rights now? He’s not even allowed a peaceful death at a hospice. So, our solicitor’s words were: ‘They’ve been very brutal and they refused a hospice’.”

Archie was found with a ligature over his head after a social media dare at home in Southend, Essex, on April 7 this year.

The youngster suffered brain damage and has been unresponsive ever since, being kept alive by mechanical ventilation and being fed through a tube.

Announcing the court’s refusal to hear the appeal earlier, the judges said: “The justices have great sympathy with the plight of Archie’s devoted parents who face a circumstance that is every parent’s nightmare – the loss of a much-loved child.”

“It has to be borne in mind that, sadly, the central issue between Archie’s parents on the one hand and the NHS trust, which is supported by Archie’s very experienced guardian, has not been about Archie’s recovery but about the timing and manner of his death,” they added.

“There is no prospect of any meaningful recovery.

“Even if life-sustaining treatment were to be maintained, Archie would die in the course of the next few weeks through organ failure and then heart failure.

“The maintenance of the medical regimen ‘serves only to protract his death’.

“That conclusion was one which the judge reached only ‘with the most profound regret’.

“While there was evidence that Archie was a child with religious beliefs, was very close to his mother and would not have wished to leave her alone, those are only some of the factors which the courts have to consider in their evaluation of where Archie’s best interests lie.

“It was against that background that Mr Justice Hayden held that it would not be lawful to continue life-sustaining treatment.”

The panel concluded: “According to the law of England and Wales, Archie’s best interests and welfare are the paramount consideration.

“The panel reaches this conclusion with a heavy heart and wishes to extend its deep sympathy to Archie’s parents at this very sad time.”

Speaking after the noon deadline to switch off Archie’s life-support was pushed back yesterday, his mum said: “I know Archie’s still with us.”

“He’s showing very different signs to what the clinicians are actually putting over to the courts,” she added.

“He’s very much there, he’s progressing in so many ways. We are having to battle over every decision with the hospital.

“There is nothing dignified in how we are being treated as a family in this situation.

“We do not understand what the rush is and why all of our wishes are being denied.”

A High Court judge previously ruled that stopping treatment was in Archie’s best interests, after experts declared him “brain stem dead”.

This was delayed due to a UN committee issuing a request to the UK Government on Friday, urging it to “refrain” from taking him off life support while his case is under consideration.

However, Sir Andrew McFarlane said on Monday the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, under which the UN committee made its request, is an “unincorporated international treaty” and not part of UK law.

“Every day that [Archie] continues to be given life-sustaining treatment is contrary to his best interests and, so, a stay, even for a short time, is against his best interests,” he added.

Archie’s care was due to end at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, East London, on Monday, but his family was granted a short delay.

Then on Tuesday, barely 30 minutes after his life support was meant to be turned off, the Supreme Court confirmed an appeal had been lodged.

Hollie has said she feels “extremely let down” by the justice system and “continues to be shocked and traumatised by the brutality of the UK courts and the hospital trust” – but hopes things will go her way after this final appeal.

‘We made a promise to Archie’

“We made a promise to Archie,” Hollie, who with Archie’s dad Paul has continually vowed to “fight to the end” for her son, said.

“I’ve got my son’s best interests at heart – Paul, and the siblings – nobody else has got Archie’s best interests at heart.

“And I say, and I still stand by it, Archie’s best interests would be to allow that child time to recover.

“If he doesn’t recover, he doesn’t recover, but give him time to recover.”

Describing today how her son has “shown” her he’s improving, Hollie told Good Morning Britain: “He has a very good, stable heartbeat, he holds his own blood pressure, and he is gaining weight.

“Archie held my hand. He squeezed my fingers so tight they were red. All he needs is time.

“He hasn’t been given long enough. We just want time.”

A friend of the family said they were hopeful about the court’s decision.

“Hopefully we should hear back if not today, hopefully tomorrow, whether that’s been accepted,” Ella Carter said, speaking outside the hospital.

“We’re hoping that they will accept our appeal and that they will hear our case – it’s been really frustrating.

“I think it’s hard to get hopes up after time and time again of disappointment, but we’re as hopeful as we can be.”

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission

Originally published as Archie Battersbee’s life support machine to be turned off tomorrow

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