‘The whole system has been stacked against us. Reform must now come through Charlie’s Law so that no parents have to go through this,’ said Hollie Dance
Hollie Dance, the mother of Archie Battersbee, a 12-year-old boy who was found unconscious at home in April and has not regained consciousness since, has vowed to give her son mouth-to-mouth if the hospital switches off his oxygen. Archie is currently being kept alive by a combination of medical interventions, including ventilation and drug treatments, at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, East London.
In June the High Court ruled that Archie is ‘brain-stem dead’ and the hospital could therefore legally switch off his life support. According to The Sun, a spokesman for campaign organisation the Christian Legal Centre who are supporting the family told giving her son mouth-to-mouth “may be what Hollie has to resort to”. He referred to the “traumatic” case of little Alfie Evans, whose parents launched a similar legal battle to Archie’s when doctors wanted to turn off his machines. Alfie’s dad Tom gave the boy mouth-to-mouth to keep the dying tot alive in his devastating final moments.
Dance, however, continues to fight a legal battle to prevent the hospital from officially ending Archie’s life, but is fast running out of legal avenues to keep him alive after the European Court of Humans Rights (ECHR) refused to intervene following an urgent application by Archie’s parents. The family has made an application to the High Court to move Archie from Royal London Hospital to a hospice for his final hours. Dance said denying their request to move Archie would “simply be inhumane”. In a letter to the family and their legal team, the ECHR said the court had decided not to ‘interfere with the decisions of the national courts to allow the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment from Archie Battersbee to proceed.’
In a statement, Dance 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.’ The whole system has been stacked against us. Reform must now come through Charlie’s Law so that no parents have to go through this. We will fight to the end for Archie’s right to live,” reports MyLondonNews. Dance confirmed the family’s intentions to keep battling the courts’ decisions, describing it as “completely barbaric and absolutely disgusting that we’re not even allowed to choose where Archie takes his last moments”.
However, Barts Health NHS Trust believe Archie’s condition is too unstable for him to be transferred elsewhere. Doctors claim an ambulance journey “would most likely hasten the premature deterioration the family wish to avoid, even with full intensive care equipment and staff”. A High Court order made in July also requires that Archie remains at the Royal London Hospital while his treatment is withdrawn. Dance said she wanted her son to have a “dignified passing at a hospice”, adding that is is “unfair” they have to “fight” to get him out of the hospital. She responded to the ECHR’s rejection with tears in her eyes, saying, “The one thing I will say is, I promised him I’d fight to the end and that’s exactly what I’ve done.” Speaking outside The Royal London Hospital after the verdict, Dance said, “Doctors do get it wrong. I’m saying they’ve got it wrong in this case. They said Archie would last 24 hours and here he is still fighting.”
Archie was found with a ligature over his head after a social media dare at home in Southend, Essex on April 7 this year. The youngster suffered brain damage in the “freak accident” and has been unresponsive ever since.