UK

Bid to delay Archie Battersbee’s life support treatment being withdrawn fails

An application to delay the withdrawal of life-preserving treatment being provided to Archie Battersbee has failed.

The Court of Appeal has granted a stay on the withdrawal of life support until midday tomorrow.

Archie – who has been on life support since April after being found unconscious at home by his mother in Southend, Essex – was set to have treatment withdrawn at 2pm today.

But following interventions from the government and the UN, the Court of Appeal held a hearing that began at 11am on Monday.

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

The UN’s Committee on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities had asked the UK government to stop Archie’s life support being withdrawn until it had the chance to review the case.

Sir Andrew McFarlane, presiding over the case at the Court of Appeal, said the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which the UN committee based its request on, is an “unincorporated international treaty”.

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He said: “It is not part of the law of the United Kingdom… and it is not appropriate for this court to apply an unincorporated international treaty into its decision-making process.”

“Every day that (Archie) continues to be given life-sustaining treatment is contrary to his best interests and, so, a stay, even for a short time, is against his best interests,” he added.

Sir Andrew said Archie’s case was “stark” as “his system, his organs and, ultimately, his heart are in the process of closing down”.

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