Battersbee family fights to keep son alive following failed EU appeal

by Jacob Fuller

Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News


A United Kingdom hospital’s decision to end the life of a child against his parent’s wishes will go forward Thursday morning unless his parents apply for hospice care, which the hospital also opposes.

As reported by Sky News and The Guardian, the parents of 12-year-old Archie Battersbee were given until 9 a.m. local time to apply for hospice care for their son. Holly Dance and Paul Battersbee said they would pursue hospice care so that they can have control over where their son “takes his final moments,” according to a family spokeswoman.

“We’ve now got to fight to see if we can get him out of here to have a dignified passing at a hospice,” Dance said. “It’s just unfair. The fact is as a parent we’ve got no rights for our children, it’s disgusting.”

As previously reported on FISM, Battersbee has been on life support since being found asphyxiated with what appeared to be a cord tied around his neck. His mother believes Archie was injured while attempting to complete an online challenge.

Battersbee’s family has sought to keep him on life support and has presented what they, and their attorney, say is evidence of Archie seeking to breathe on his own. His parents also say Archie’s heart continues to beat and he has squeezed his mother’s hand.

The hospital, Barts Health NHS Trust in London, has argued Battersbee’s condition is permanent and irreversible and has sought to remove him from life support on grounds that it is, allegedly, more humane to let the young man die.

Dance and Paul Battersbee have sought unsuccessfully in the United Kingdom and European Union court systems to appeal the hospital’s decision.

In the most recent setback, a European court ruled that it would not intercede with a U.K. court ruling on the matter.



Following the EU court’s decision, the hospital gave the parents until this morning to file a petition with the High Court to move Archie to hospice care. Had his parents refused or failed to do so, Archie would have been removed from life support at 11 a.m. London time.

However, the story doesn’t end there. The hospital has promised to oppose the move, even though it demanded the application be made.

“Any application will be opposed on both a procedural basis and best interests basis,” the trust said, later adding it “continues to put Archie’s welfare and best interests at the forefront of its decision making about his care. It believes that Archie’s condition is unstable and that transferring him even a short distance involves significant risk.”

The one positive note for the family is that Archie will remain on life support during the hearing over his move to hospice, which will sustain his life for some time more.

“The one thing I will say is, I promised him I’d fight to the end and that’s exactly what I’ve done,” The Guardian quoted Dance as saying.