Archie Battersbee's parents lose High Court bid to have him transferred to hospice

Archie's mum Hollie Dance had argued he should be able to spend his last few moments in a hospice in private

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Archie Battersbee’s parents have lost a High Court bid to have him transferred to a hospice to die.

Lawyers for the boy’s family took part in an hours-long legal hearing on Thursday, with the court in London sitting until late in the evening.

Doctors treating the schoolboy for the last four months declared Archie to be “brain-stem dead”, prompting a lengthy but ultimately failed legal battle by his family to continue his life support treatment in the hope he would recover.

The child has been in a coma since he was found unconscious at his home in Southend, Essex, on April 7 and is being kept alive by a combination of medical interventions, including ventilation and drug treatments, at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London.

Archie Battersbee
Archie Battersbee
Archie's mum, Hollie Dance
Archie's mum, Hollie Dance

Ruling that the 12-year-old should remain in hospital while his life-sustaining treatment is withdrawn, Mrs Justice Theis said: “Archie’s best interests must remain at the core of any conclusions reached by this court.

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best interests remain as set out (in the ruling of July 15), that he should remain at the hospital when treatment is withdrawn.

“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.”

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

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

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.