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Archie Battersbee’s family lose new bid to delay withdrawing life support

Written by on 3 August 2022

Archie Battersbee’s parents have suffered a new blow in their bid to stop doctors ending life support for their brain-damaged son after the European Court of Human Rights said it will not interfere with the decisions of UK courts.

The boy’s family had applied to the ECHR to postpone life-sustaining treatment being switched off for the 12-year-old.

But the Strasbourg-based court said it would not interfere with previous rulings by “national courts”.

His parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, submitted the application to the court just hours before Barts Health NHS Trust was initially expected to withdraw life support at 11am today.

It came after the pair lost a Supreme Court bid yesterday to keep it going.

His hospital treatment has continued today as Archie’s parents made their latest application – but they were not successful in their court bid.

The boy has been in a coma since he was found unconscious in April and is being kept alive by a combination of medical interventions, including ventilation and drug treatments.

Doctors treating the child at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, believe he is brain-stem dead and say continued life support is not in his best interests.

But his family insist the treatment should continue, saying the youngster’s heart was still beating, and he had gripped his mother’s hand.

In a statement, the European court said it would not grant an interim measure to continue treatment and declared the parents’ complaints “inadmissible”.

The statement added the court would only grant such requests “on an exceptional basis” and “when the applicants would otherwise face a real risk of irreversible harm”.