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Archie Battersbee’s family lose Supreme Court case over decision to end life support

Archie Battersbee’s family have lost an appeal to the Supreme Court today to keep his life-support machine on.

Doctors had previously said they would start withdrawing treatment from midday today, but the move was on hold following an emergency hearing at the UK’s most senior court.

This afternoon it was revealed his parents had lost their case.

Archie’s family said that if his life support is to be cut off, they want him to be moved to a hospice, where he can pass away in a “peaceful” environment.

The 12-year-old has been in a coma since April after he suffered a catastrophic brain injury.

Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, say he is brain-stem dead and that continued life-support treatment was not in his best interests.

It comes 24 hours after a judge ruled the schoolboy’s life support could be turned off after his family lost a last-ditch bid to keep him alive.

Speaking outside The Royal London Hospital, Ella Carter, a friend of Archie’s family, said before the ruling: “We’re hopeful that the Supreme Court will accept our appeal and it will be given the proper consideration it deserves.

“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.”

Having left Archie’s room to speak to reporters, she added: “The atmosphere is OK because we’ve got all the family around us at the moment.

“I think things are a little bit tense because the order says that it was going to happen at 12 o’clock today.”

She added that “seven or eight” security guards are present around his room, making for a chaotic environment.

“If this is Archie’s last couple of days it needs to be peaceful and it needs to be a calm atmosphere, and it’s the complete opposite really,” she said.

“We would really like it to be in a hospice – I mean that’s exactly what they’re designed for, they’re so well-equipped to deal with situations like this.

“If the trust can work with us and co-operate with us in working towards getting him in a hospice we would be forever grateful for that.”

Mum Hollie Dance added: “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.

“I know Archie’s still with us. Archie’s showing very different signs to what the clinicians are actually putting over to the courts. He’s very much there, he’s progressing in so many ways.

“We pray for an encouraging response from the Supreme Court.”

The Supreme Court has now confirmed it has received an application and that it is being considered by a panel of three justices.

A spokeswoman for the court said: “The Supreme Court is aware of the urgency of this matter. A panel of three justices will consider the application for permission to appeal ‘on paper’, in the usual way.”

Sir Andrew McFarlane’s ruling on Monday came after a UN committee asked the British government to reconsider.

But Sir Andrew ruled: “It is not part of the law of the United Kingdom … and it is not appropriate for this court to apply an unincorporated international treaty into its decision-making process.”

He added: “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.”

The judge’s decision comes after a number of appeals by his parents Ms Dance and Mr Battersbee.

His mother had previously vowed to never give up, adding her boy would have wanted to “fight to the end”.

Ms Dance had released a video of her son she claimed provided ‘new’ evidence he is still breathing on his own.

She insisted Archie is able to breathe independently of a respirator as the Christian Legal Centre – which is supporting the family’s case – and circulated a video that they wanted to submit as evidence.

The High Court had previously found that Archie can’t feel pain and so his current treatment regime does not cause him any pain or distress.

Damage to his spinal cord could also prevent his breathing independently regardless of any damage to his brain, it’s claimed.

It is believed Archie may have been taking part in the dangerous “blackout” social media craze, where people choke themselves until they pass out at the time of the accident.

Sir Andrew McFarlane, the president of the Family Division of the High Court and the most senior family court judge in England and Wales, said on Monday that medical staff had seen “no signs of life” in Archie.