UN request for Archie Battersbee life-support to continue

UN request for Archie Battersbee life-support to continue

Archie BattersbeeImage source, Hollie Dance

Image caption,

Archie Battersbee suffered brain damage in an incident at home on 7 April and has not regained consciousness

The United Nations has requested that Archie Battersbee’s life-support continues while it considers a “last ditch” application from his family.

The 12-year-old was found unconscious at home in Southend, Essex, on 7 April.

On Monday, Appeal Court judges ruled that doctors could lawfully disconnect his ventilator.

His parents made an application to the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (UNRPD) after their UK legal challenge failed.

Archie has never regained consciousness and his mother believes he may have been taking place in an online challenge.

Archie’s parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, wanted the UNRPD to consider Archie’s case, and argued it had a protocol that allowed individuals and families to “make complaints about violations of disabled people’s rights”.

As the UK had joined the optional protocol to the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, the UN was able to ask the government to delay the withdrawal of life support while a complaint is investigated, Christian Concern said.

In a letter, the chief of the UN’s Human Rights Treaties Branch, Ibrahim Salama, said it had “requested the state party (the government) 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”.

“This request does not imply that any decision has been reached on the substance of the matter under consideration,” Mr Salama said.

Image source, Hollie Dance

Image caption,

Hollie Dance with her son Archie

A spokesman for the Christian Legal Centre, which supports the family, said Archie’s parents contacted the UNRPD in a “last-ditch” application after the UK’s Supreme Court refused to intervene.

The Supreme Court rejected an application to appeal a ruling by the Court of Appeal that it was lawful for treatment to end.

Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital, run by Barts NHS Health Trust, said he was brain-stem dead and continued life-support treatment was not in his best interests.

Ms Dance said: “I am so grateful to the UN for their response and acting so quickly for my son.

“We have been under so much stress and anxiety; we are already broken and the not-knowing what was going to happen next was excruciating. To get this news now means everything.”

Alistair Chesser, chief medical officer for Barts Health NHS Trust said: “We are giving Archie’s loved ones time to come to terms with the decision of the courts that treatment should not continue and are involving them in each stage.

“Any further delay in starting palliative care would not be appropriate without an order of the court.”

It is understood the hospital is awaiting guidance from government lawyers as to what the UN’s request means in terms of Archie’s treatment.

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