Archie's life support treatment to end at 2pm tomorrow says letter

Archie Battersbee’s life support treatment to end at 2pm tomorrow: Hospital says in letter to parents that ‘all fluid infusions and medications will be stopped’ after they lost legal fight to keep brain damaged 12-year-old alive

  • Archie, of Southend-on-Sea, Essex, suffered brain damage at home on April 7
  • The 12-year-old has been at the centre of legal battle to keep his life support on
  • His parents’ plea to stop his machine being turned off was rejected by the court 
  • They had gone directly to the United Nations in an effort to keep their son alive
  • Now the NHS Trust letter has laid out in detail what will happen to their little boy 

Archie Battersbee’s family have been told by letter how the little boy will have his life support treatment removed tomorrow in a procedure they today branded ‘cruel and wrong’.

Barts Health NHS Trust said in the note to his parents Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee ‘all fluid infusions, medications, including vasopressin will be stopped’ at 2pm on August 1.

In one heartbreaking sentence it warns them only immediately family will be allowed into the room, meaning others will be banned.

And in another particularly insensitive part of the message the trust says a doctor will need to ‘assess Archie regularly to confirm that the heart has stopped beating’.

One of the little boy’s aunts had been booked on a flight to come over from Italy to see him but will now no longer be able to under the Trust’s rules.

The letter – given to MailOnline with permission of the family –  has come despite the UN urging a pause on proceedings. 

A statement from Hollie and Paul said: ‘The Trust has been dragging us as a family through the courts at a breakneck speed from April 27 till the final decision of the Supreme Court this Thursday evening.

‘The Trust has never made any attempt to agree any sort of compromise with us on any matters great or small. For example this Friday, our lawyers received a letter from the Trust demanding that all videos of Archie and his medical equipment taken on the ward, which we believe is evidence of improvement in Archie’s condition (such as his attempts to breathe independently) are immediately deleted; and threatened legal proceedings for an alleged breach of data protection.

‘We as a family are very disappointed that the Trust’s management has chosen to hide behind euphemisms and to mislead the public. It is hard to see any reason for that behaviour except knowing that what they are doing is cruel and wrong.’

It comes after Ms Dance, urged the Health Secretary to ‘act immediately’ to stop the treatment ending, saying it would be ‘a flagrant breach’ of his rights.

The letter from the NHS Trust to Archie’s parents, shared with MailOnline with their permission

Archie, of Southend-on-Sea, Essex, suffered brain damage at home on April 7 and is in coma


Archie’s parents’ plea to stop his life support machine being turned off was rejected by court

The letter, sent over the weekend, also read: ‘We understand that any discussions around the withdrawal of Archie’s treatment are very difficult and painful.

‘However, we want to ensure that you and your family are involved as much as you wish to be.’

Ms Dance and Paul Battersbee, the youngster’s parents, will be told on Monday morning how the withdrawal process is to be performed, with the aim to ‘preserve Archie’s dignity’, the letter read.

It went on: ‘You or any of the family may wish to lie on Archie’s bed with him or have him in your arms, if that should be practically possible.’

A High Court judge had ruled that ending treatment is in Archie’s best interests, after reviewing evidence.

Ms Dance and Mr Battersbee, who are separated but both live in Southend, Essex, failed to persuade Court of Appeal judges to overturn that ruling and Supreme Court justices have refused to intervene.

Archie’s parents are being supported by campaign organisation, the Christian Legal Centre.

Writing to Health Secretary Stephen Barclay on Saturday, Ms Dance said: ‘If this happens, this will be an extraordinary cruelty, and a flagrant breach of Archie’s rights as a disabled person.

Doctors have been given permission to turn off Archie’s life support machine, but his parents are trying to continue the fight to keep him alive. Pictured is Archie in hospital

In their letter Archie’s parents Ms Dance and Mr Battersbee plead with Health Secretary Steve Barclay to intervene to prevent the ‘extraordinary cruelty’ of ending their son’s life

Archie with his mother Hollie Dance (left), brother Tom Summers and sister Lauren Summers

‘Archie is entitled to have the decisions about his life and death, taken by the NHS and UK courts, to be scrutinised by an international human rights body. Hastening his death to prevent that would be completely unacceptable.

‘I trust that you will now act immediately, as a member of the Government responsible for the NHS, to ensure that this does not happen, and our country honours its obligations under the international human rights treaties which we have signed and ratified.’

They have also asked the United Nations to intervene in a ‘last-ditch’ application.

The UN Committee On The Rights Of Persons With Disabilities has written to Archie’s parents and legal team saying it had ‘requested the state party [the UK] to refrain from withdrawing life-preserving medical treatment, including mechanical ventilation and artificial nutrition and hydration, from the alleged victim while the case is under consideration by the committee’.

It added: ‘This request does not imply that any decision has been reached on the substance of the matter under consideration.’

The family said stopping treatment would be in breach of the UK’s obligations under international human rights law.

Archie’s parents have asked hospital bosses to continue treatment until the UN has considered the case.

Judges in London have heard that Ms Dance found Archie unconscious with a ligature over his head on April 7.

She thinks he might have been taking part in an online challenge.

The youngster has not regained consciousness.

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

Alistair Chesser, chief medical officer for Barts Health NHS Trust, said on Friday that ‘further delay’ in starting to provide ‘palliative care’ to Archie would ‘not be appropriate’ without a court order.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: ‘We recognise this is an exceptionally difficult time for Archie Battersbee’s family and our thoughts are with them.

‘We have received the letter and will respond in due course.’

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