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Aine Fox, Catherine Wylie and Helen William, PA & Catherine Swan

Archie Battersbee’s parents lose bid to delay withdrawal of son’s life support

A last-chance appeal by Archie Battersbee’s parents to prolong their son’s life support has been refused.

Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee submitted an application to the European Court of Human Rights on Wednesday morning, just a few hours before Barts Health NHS Trust had been expected to withdraw Archie’s life support. But the Court announced on Wednesday evening that it had rejected their request.

A statement from the Court explained that it would not “interfere with the decisions of the national courts to allow the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment from (Archie) to proceed”. The news comes after a judge ruled on Monday during an emergency Court of Appeal meeting that the 12-year-old’s life support could be turned off.

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Parents Hollie and Paul continued their legal efforts to prolong their son’s life support after the ruling, but were refused permission to appeal at the Supreme Court. Judges at the Supreme Court said that they have “great sympathy” with Archie’s parents, but added that there is “no prospect of any meaningful recovery”.

Mum Hollie said on Wednesday: “I promised Arch, same with his dad, that we will fight ’til the bitter end, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do. We’re going to fight for the right for my son to live.”

Archie has been in a coma since April following a brain injury, which his mum believes he sustained while taking part in a viral social media challenge. Doctors treating the youngster at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel have said that the youngster is brain-stem dead, and that continued life-support treatment is not in his best interests.

Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, wrote to the family over the weekend to inform them it intended to end treatment on Monday afternoon. Claire Watson QC, for Archie's guardian - an independent adviser appointed to represent him - said there had been no change to the guardian's view that, in light of Archie's "parlous" condition, it was no longer in his best interests for treatment to carry on.


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