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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Adam May

Archie Battersbee’s parents lose bid to challenge High Court ruling over hospice transfer

Archie Battersbee’s parents have lost a bid to challenge a High Court ruling that denied his transfer to a hospice before his life-sustaining treatment is withdrawn.

The family of the 12-year-old had sought permission to challenge a ruling by Mrs Justice Theis who concluded it was not in Archie's best interests to be moved to a hospice.

But the judges considering the application at the Court of Appeal concluded: "In all respects, Theis J's judgment deals comprehensively with each of the points raised on behalf of the parents.

"We have reached the clear conclusion that each of her decisions was right for the reasons she gave.

"It follows that the proposed appeal has no prospect of success and there is no other compelling reason for the Court of Appeal to hear an appeal."

Hollie Dance, mother of 12-year-old Archie Battersbee, speaks to the media outside the Royal London hospital (PA)

In light of this, Archie's family have now applied to the European Court of Human Rights in a challenge to the High Court ruling made this morning, the campaign group Christian Concern said.

Archie has been in a coma since he was found unconscious by his mum Hollie Dance in April and is currently being kept alive by a combination of medical interventions, including ventilation and drug treatments, at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London.

Ms Dance said the family is “broken” but vowed to carry on because they “refuse to give up” on him.

His parents have fought a long-running legal battle over the withdrawal of his treatment, which ultimately failed on Wednesday when the European Court of Human Rights refused to intervene.

The judge said Archie’s best interests must remain at the core of any decisions (PA)
Archie and his mum Hollie Dance (PA)

Ms Dance and Archie’s father Paul Battersbee, who are separated but both live in Southend, Essex, launched an urgent bid to have him transferred to a hospice to die, resulting in a hearing which ran until 10.30pm on Thursday night.

But, in a ruling this morning, Mrs Justice Theis concluded it was not in Archie’s best interests to be moved to a hospice, meaning he will die in hospital.

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

The parents of Archie Battersbee, Paul Battersbee and Hollie Dance (PA)

“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 when looking at the balancing exercise again his best interests remain as set out (in the ruling of July 15), that he should remain at the hospital when treatment is withdrawn.

Archie Battersbee has been in a coma since he was found unconscious by his mother in April and is currently being kept alive by a combination of medical interventions (PA)

“The circumstances outlined by Dr F of the physical arrangements at the hospital and the arrangements that can be made will ensure that Archie’s best interest will remain the focus of the final arrangements to enable him peacefully and privately to die in the embrace of the family he loved.

“The parents in the email from their solicitors on August 2 confirmed, in principle, their willingness to co-operate in these arrangements.”

Archie Battersbee's brother kisses Archie on the head in hospital (PA)
Archie Battersbee's family say they are never giving up on him (PA)

Mrs Justice Theis concluded her judgment by saying: “I return to where I started, recognising the enormity of what lays ahead for Archie’s parents and the family.

“Their unconditional love and dedication to Archie is 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.”

Following the ruling, Ms 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.”

Media gather outside the Royal London hospital in Whitechapel, east London (PA)

The judge refused permission to appeal against her ruling, after lawyers for the family requested it.

Later, a spokesperson for the judiciary confirmed that the Court of Appeal had received an application from Archie’s family for permission to appeal.

Mrs Justice Theis granted a stay on the withdrawal of treatment until 2pm on Friday to allow time for an appeal to be lodged.

But the Court of Appeal confirmed shortly after 6.30pm today that permission to appeal had been refused.

Archie has been in a coma since he was found unconscious at his Essex home on April 7.

Ms Dance believes he was taking part in an online challenge at the time he became ill. He has not regained consciousness since.

The mother of Archie Battersbee, Hollie Dance, speaks to the media (PA)

Ms Dance said on Thursday that she wanted her son to “spend his last moments” together with family privately, complaining of a lack of privacy at the hospital.

She told Times Radio on Thursday: “We can’t even have the chance to be in a room together as a family without nurses.”

Barts Health NHS 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”.

A High Court order made in July requires that Archie remains at the Royal London Hospital while his treatment is withdrawn.

A family spokeswoman said a hospice had agreed to take him.

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