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Archie BattersbeeHollie Dance

A last-minute Court of Appeal hearing has ruled the withdrawal of life support for Archie Battersbee should not be postponed beyond Tuesday.supremer

The government asked judges to urgently consider a request from a UN committee to keep treating the 12-year-old.

The Court of Appeal refused to postpone the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment beyond 12:00 on Tuesday.

Archie was found unconscious at home in Southend, Essex, on 7 April.

His care had been due to end at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, at 14:00 BST on Monday.

President of the family division Sir Andrew McFarlane, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Moylan ordered a short delay in withdrawing life-sustaining treatments until Tuesday for Archie’s parents to consider any other applications they wish to make.

The judges refused to grant permission to appeal against their ruling at the Supreme Court.

However, Archie’s parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, may now ask Supreme Court justices to consider their application for permission to appeal directly.

Archie’s mother believes he may have been taking part in an online challenge when he became ill. He has never regained consciousness.

Doctors treating him believe he is brain stem dead and have consistently argued it is in his best interest for life support to end.

Hollie dance with her son Archie

Hollie Dance

Sir Andrew said: “Every day he continues to be given life-sustaining treatment is contrary to his best interests, so a stay, even for a short time is against his best interests.”

The judge said the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which the UN committee based its request on, is an “unincorporated international treaty” and “not part of the law of the United Kingdom”.

“It is not appropriate for this court to apply an unincorporated international treaty into its decision-making process,” he said.

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What is the right thing to do?

The treatment of Archie Battersbee presents his family, the clinicians treating him and the lawyers and judges now drawn into the case with some tough ethical questions.

If the 12-year-old is brain dead and has no chance of recovery, as his doctors claim, what is in his best interests? The clinicians believe that treatment should be withdrawn and Archie should be allowed to die, surrounded by his family.

But his mother believes he is making progress and that standard tests for brain death were not carried out.

Much of the legal argument has centred around certainty – how sure are doctors that Archie is brain dead?

But the ethical question remains the most difficult. What is the right thing to do?

Fortunately these cases are very rare, but when they do occur they present terrible dilemmas for those involved.

Analysis by Dominic Hughes, Health Correspondent

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In his ruling, Sir Andrew also referred to the medical evidence before Mr Justice Hayden, who ruled on 15 July that Archie’s life-sustaining treatment should be withdrawn.

He said: “In short, his system, his organs and, ultimately, his heart are in the process of closing down. The options before the court have always been stark.”

Sir Andrew said these options were that treatment should be withdrawn immediately, resulting in Archie’s death a short time later, or to continue treatment with medical evidence suggesting he would die in the coming weeks but, in the words of his parents, at a time “chosen by God.”

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