Archie Battersbee‘s parents have lost their last Supreme Court bid to keep his life support on.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Steve Barclay, intervened in the case of 12-year-old Archie, calling on the families’ urgent permission to appeal to the Supreme Court to be refused.
Archie’s mum, Hollie Dance, has said she feels “let down, even betrayed” by the decision and later confirmed his life support will be switched off at 11am on Wednesday.
On Monday afternoon, shortly after 3pm, a judge ruled the schoolboy’s life support could be turned off after his family lost a last-ditch bid to keep him alive.
Doctors had previously said they would start withdrawing treatment from 12pm on Tuesday, but since the application was made they have been waiting for direction from the Supreme Court, buying the schoolboy more time.
This afternoon the bid to appeal made by Archie’s parents, Ms Dance and Mr Battersbee, was refused by a panel of three Supreme Court judges, who concluded the Court of Appeal “made the correct decision”.
While the panel said they have “great sympathy” with of Archie’s “devoted parents”, they said there was “no prospect of any meaningful recovery (by Archie)”.
“Even if life-sustaining treatment were to be maintained, Archie would die in the course of the next few weeks through organ failure and then heart failure,” they said.
The panel continued to say that the maintenance of his medical regime served “only to protract his death”.
Announcing the Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the appeal, the judges said: “As this panel stated in its note of determination last week, the justices have great sympathy with the plight of Archie’s devoted parents who face a circumstance that is every parent’s nightmare – the loss of a much-loved child.”
The panel concluded: “According to the law of England and Wales, Archie’s best interests and welfare are the paramount consideration.
“The panel reaches this conclusion with a heavy heart and wishes to extend its deep sympathy to Archie’s parents at this very sad time.”
Archie has been in a coma since April after he suffered a catastrophic brain injury. Hollie Dance, his mother, believed he may have been taking part in an online challenge when he suffered brain damage.
Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, said it was “highly likely” he was brain-stem dead and that continued life-support treatment was not in his best interests.
The government intervention followed a last-minute application from Archie’s parents at 12pm on Tuesday to the Supreme Court.
It enabled the UN CRPD to ask the UK government to delay the withdrawal of life support while a complaint was investigated.
Responding to the news of the government intervention, Archie’s mum, Hollie Dance said: “At first, we were relieved to hear that the government was going to intervene, but having seen what they have had to say we feel so let down, even betrayed.
“No authorities, other than the UN CRPD have shown any compassion or understanding to us as a family.
“We want to say clearly, despite reports that Archie is ‘brain-stem dead’, that no medical professional has ever been able to prove that this is so.
“We as a family will keep fighting and want to say thank you for all the prayers and support we have received.”
His 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.
Before the latest ruling, Ella Carter, a friend of Archie’s family, said: “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.”
A number of appeals have been made by Archie’s separated parents, Ms Dance and Mr Battersbee. Ms Dance had previously vowed to never give up, adding her boy would have wanted to “fight to the end”.
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.