Doctors treating UK boy Archie Battersbee are set to withdraw his life support – unless the Supreme Court agrees a dramatic last-minute intervention.
The 12-year-old, who has been in a coma since April, could be taken off his ventilator at noon after the Court of Appeal ruled continuing life support was not in his best interests.
A panel of three judges rejected a plea from his parents to keep Archie alive until his case could be considered by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, but said the family could ask the Supreme Court to intervene.
Archie’s mother Hollie Dance said they would take the case to the Supreme Court, which previously refused them permission to appeal.
Speaking outside the Royal London Hospital, Miss Dance said: “We made a promise to Archie, we will fight to the end. And Archie’s still fighting.”
Last night there was no word from the Supreme Court over whether judges had agreed to accept the family’s case, meaning any decision over Archie’s fate could come at the 11th hour.
If the court agrees to hear the case then doctors will be ordered to keep him on life support until judges have reached a decision.
Archie, an aspiring Olympic gymnast, was fit and healthy until April this year, when he was found unconscious at home in Southend, Essex.
His mother believes he had been taking part in a social media “blackout’ challenge.
He suffered catastrophic brain damage and has never regained consciousness.
Doctors say his brain stem is dead, meaning he will not recover.
Lawyers for the NHS hospital trust had asked the High Court to rule he was effectively dead and that all treatment should be withdrawn.
But his parents have fought a legal battle, insisting their child is still alive and should be given longer to show signs of recovery, or to die a ‘natural’ death.
Miss Dance, who is separated from Archie’s father, said it would amount to “extraordinary cruelty” to end his life support.
Lawyers for the family have argued Archie’s condition is stable and he cannot feel pain.
The UN committee told the Government on Friday that it wanted to consider the case.
But Fiona Paterson, a lawyer for the Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, said the UN request was not legally binding.
She said it was not in Archie’s best interests to keep him alive and his condition could deteriorate at any time.
The trust’s chief medical officer Alistair Chesser said “our heartfelt sympathies’ were with Archie’s family. But he added: “We will prepare to withdraw treatment after midday unless directed otherwise.”
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