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Mum of Archie Battersbee urges Health Sec to 'act immediately' to keep her son alive
30 July 2022, 19:15 | Updated: 30 July 2022, 22:47
The mum of brain-damaged Archie Battersbee has written an urgent appeal to the Government to keep her son alive on life support.
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It comes after the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court's decision to withdraw life-support treatment for Archie, with it understood to be ending on Monday afternoon.
In a letter sent on Saturday, Hollie Dance urged the Health Secretary to "act immediately" to stop her son Archie Battersbee's treatment ending.
Barts Health NHS Trust, which is caring for Archie, is believed to be going ahead with plans to end the support at 2pm.
The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to intervene in the battle with a spokesperson saying the court "has great sympathy with the plight of Archie's devoted parents and recognises the emotional pain which they are suffering" but would not allow permission to appeal.
Writing to Health Secretary Stephen Barclay, Ms Dance said: "If this happens, this will be an extraordinary cruelty, and a flagrant breach of Archie's rights as a disabled person.
"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."
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.
Ms Dance and Paul Battersbee, the 12-year-old's parents, are being supported by campaign organisation the Christian Legal Centre.
They have 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.
However, 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."