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Archie BattersbeeHollie Dance

The family of 12-year-old Archie Battersbee have sought legal permission to move him from the Royal London Hospital to a hospice.

The High Court is now considering the application, after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) refused a request to delay withdrawing treatment.

Archie’s mother said she wanted her son “in a peaceful hospice to say goodbye”.

Doctors have warned there is “significant risk” in moving him.

Life-sustaining support, including mechanical ventilation and drug treatments, for Archie has been in place since April.

It is understood no changes will be made to his care while legal processes are ongoing.

Care was due to be withdrawn on Wednesday but this was delayed for the ECHR to consider his family’s appeal.

However, the ECHR said it “would not interfere” with the UK courts’ rulings, paving the way for support to be stopped.

Hollie dance with her son Archie

Hollie Dance

Afterwards, Archie’s mother, Hollie Dance, said the legal battle to postpone the withdrawal of her son’s life support was at “the end”.

In a statement, she said: “I pray that the High Court will do the right thing.

“If they refuse permission for us to take him to a hospice and for him to receive palliative oxygen it will simply be inhumane and nothing about Archie’s ‘dignity’.

“We will fight to the end for Archie’s right to live.”

Ms Dance has said she wants her son “in a peaceful hospice to say goodbye and spend time with his family, uninterrupted by the noise and chaos”.

Hollie Dance, mother of 12-year-old Archie Battersbee, speaks to the media outside the Royal London hospital in Whitechapel, east London,

PA Media

The Christian Legal Centre, which supports the family, said the application, submitted on Thursday morning, asked for Archie to be moved to a hospice and for palliative oxygen to be given once his ventilator is removed.

A hearing is taking place at the Family Division of the High Court in London before Mrs Justice Theis.

Lawyers for Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the Royal London Hospital, said in a letter to the family’s legal team that any application to transfer Archie to a hospice would “be opposed on both a procedural basis and best interests basis”.

“The trust continues to put Archie’s welfare and best interests at the forefront of its decision making about his care,” the letter said.

“It believes that Archie’s condition is unstable and that transferring him even a short distance involves significant risk.”

Paul Battersbee and Hollie Dance

PA Media

It added the trust considered that the family were now “at the end of the procedural options open to them” and that “any further delay is not in Archie’s best interests”.

On that basis, it intended to withdraw Archie’s treatment at 11:00 BST on Thursday unless an application over the hospice move was submitted.

A High Court order made in July requires that Archie remains at the Royal London Hospital while his treatment is withdrawn.

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Analysis box by Michelle Roberts, health editor

Archie has been rigged up to numerous machines, drips and monitors to help keep him alive.

His doctors say his condition is so unstable that even turning him in his hospital bed as part of his care is risky.

In their opinion, attempting to transfer him to a hospice by ambulance would not be in his best interests.

There is a high risk that he would deteriorate, even with full intensive care equipment and staff on board for the journey.

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Archie was found unconscious at home in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, on 7 April. His mother believed he may have been taking part in an online challenge at the time.

Doctors had previously said it was “highly likely” he was brain-stem dead, with no chance of recovery, and it was in his best interest for life support to end.

Hollie Dance, Archie Battersbee, his brother Tom Summers and sister Lauren Summer

Hollie Dance/PA Media

Timeline: How the story unfolded

7 April 2022

Archie is found unconscious by his mother after an incident at their home in Essex. He is taken to Southend Hospital.

8 April

Archie is transferred to The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel where he has been treated ever since.

26 April

The NHS trust that runs the Royal London starts High Court proceedings asking for Archie to undergo brain stem testing.

13 May

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot rules that brain stem testing should be carried out.

16 May

Two specialists try to administer brain stem function tests, but they are unable to as Archie did not respond to a peripheral nerve stimulation test, a precursor to the brain stem test.

25 May

A hearing is held to decide if further MRI scans should be conducted. Archie’s parents did not consent on the basis that moving Archie could harm him.

27 May

The court approves further MRI scans, which are carried out on 31 May.

6-8 June

A final hearing is held to hear evidence on whether Archie’s life-support treatment should continue.

13 June

The High Court judge rules that Archie is “dead” based on MRI scan results and that treatment could be withdrawn.

Hollie Dance, Archie’s mother, outside the High Court

20 June

The family ask the Court of Appeal to reconsider the case.

29 June

The Court of Appeal says that a new hearing to determine Archie’s best interests should take place.

11 July

A new hearing is held in the High Court with evidence given before Mr Justice Hayden.

15 July

Mr Justice Hayden rules that life-support treatment should end, saying continuing it is “futile”.

25 July

Three Court of Appeal judges support the High Court ruling that treatment can end.

28 July

The Supreme Court rules out intervening in the case and supports the Court of Appeal ruling.

29 July

The family make an application to the United Nations.

Archie’s mother and father, Paul Battersbee, outside the Royal London Hospital

30 July

A UN Committee writes to the UK government asking for a delay in withdrawing treatment while they consider the case.

31 July

The government asks for an urgent hearing to review the case.

1 August

The Court of Appeal refuses to postpone withdrawal of treatment until the UN can hear the case.

2 August

The Supreme Court refuse the family’s application for permission to appeal the Court of Appeal ruling.

3 August

European Court of Human Rights refuses an application from the family to postpone the withdrawal of Archie’s life support.

4 August

Archie’s parents make a legal application to move their son to a hospice for end of life care.

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