Archie Battersbee’s heartbroken mother ‘woke up sick to the stomach’ today as his family conceded defeat in their fight to keep the schoolboy alive – but they will head back to court again this morning to try to move him out of hospital to die.
Speaking after the European Court of Human Rights refused an 11th-hour application to keep the 12-year-old on life support, Hollie Dance admitted a ‘dignified passing at a hospice’ was all she had left to fight for.
But the Strasbourg court said the appeal was ‘inadmissible’, adding that it would grant such requests only ‘on an exceptional basis’ when ‘the applicants would otherwise face a real risk of irreversible harm’.
Archie’s treatment will now end at 11am today unless the family apply to the High Court by 9am to move him to a hospice, which the Royal London Hospital in east London opposes. His doctors say his condition is too unstable to be moved.
Asked what today is going to be like, Ms Dance grew tearful and said: ‘It’s going be awful today.
‘I woke up absolutely sick to my stomach. Like I just feel this hospital have so much to answer for and I don’t really know what else to say today.’
His mother appeared outside hospital last night and described the rejection of her bid to postpone the withdrawal of her son’s life support as ‘another heart-breaking development’ after European judges rejected her last-minute bid to intervene and save her son’s life.
‘It’s the end,’ she told reporters. Fighting back tears, she said: ‘It was the last thing, wasn’t it? And again our country have failed a 12-year-old child.
‘I would like him out of here as quick as possible, and in a peaceful hospice to say goodbye and spend time with his family, uninterrupted by the noise and chaos’.
Hollie was comforted by family as she broke down in tears last night and suggested the end was in sight following a four-month legal battle to continue Archie’s treatment.
She said she will now ‘fight’ to get her son moved into a hospice so he can have a ‘dignified passing’ and spend time with his loved ones without being ‘interrupted by noise and chaos’.
A spokeswoman for the family added: ‘We think it is completely barbaric and absolutely disgusting that we’re not even allowed to choose where Archie takes his last moments.
‘Hospices are well and truly designed for palliative and respite care. Archie is now obviously on palliative care so there is no reason whatsoever for him not to take his last moments at a hospice. The hospice has said that they will take him.’
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.
Speaking outside hospital after hearing the European judges’ decision, Ms Dance said she felt ‘absolutely deflated’.
She added: ‘We’ve now got a fight to see whether we can get him out of here to have a dignified passing at a hospice. It’s just unfair.
‘Now I would like him out of this hospital. He came to this hospital to have an operation, this hospital failed him.
‘So, I would like him out of here as quick as possible really. And in a peaceful hospice to say goodbye and spend time with his family, uninterrupted by the noise and chaos. The one thing I will say is, I promised him I’d fight to the end and that’s exactly what I’ve done.’
After being asked whether this defeat felt different, she said: ‘It’s the end, it was the last thing, wasn’t it, and again our country have failed a 12-year-old child.’
Ms Dance and Archie’s father Paul Battersbee had submitted an application at the eleventh-hour to the European Court of Human Rights but it was refused shortly after 6.30pm on Wednesday evening, adding that it would not ‘interfere with the decisions of the national courts to allow the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment from (Archie) to proceed’.
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