The mother of a 12-year-old boy who was left in a coma after suffering brain damage has written an urgent appeal to the government, and supportive treatment is understood to end on Monday afternoon.
In a letter sent Saturday, Hollie Dance urged the Health Secretary to “act immediately” to stop the completion of her son Archie Battersbee’s treatment.
It is understood that Barts Health NHS Trust, which is looking after Archie, will go ahead with plans to end support by 2pm on Monday.
Writing to Stephen Barclay, Ms Dance said: “If this happens it will be extraordinary cruelty and a flagrant violation of Archie’s rights as a disabled person.
“Archie is entitled to have decisions about his life and death, made by the NHS and UK courts, reviewed by an international human rights body. Hastening his death to prevent that would be completely unacceptable.
“I am confident that you will now act immediately, as a member of the Government responsible for the NHS, to ensure that this does not happen and that our country lives up to its obligations under the international human rights treaties that we have signed and ratified.”
A High Court judge ruled that ending treatment is in Archie’s best interest, after reviewing the evidence.
Ms Dance and Paul Battersbee, the young man’s parents, who are separated but both live in Southend, Essex, failed to persuade the Court of Appeal judges to overturn that ruling and the High Court judges refused to intervene.
Archie’s parents are being supported by the campaign organization Christian Legal Centre.
They have asked the United Nations to intervene in a “last resort” request.
The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has written to Archie’s parents and legal team saying that he had “requested the state party [the UK] refrain from withdrawing life-saving medical treatment, including mechanical ventilation and artificial nutrition and hydration, from the alleged victim while the case is under consideration by the committee.”
It added: “This request does not imply that a decision has been made on the merits of the matter under consideration.”
The family said that stopping the treatment would breach the UK’s obligations under international human rights law.
Archie’s parents have asked hospital bosses to continue treatment until the UN considers the case.
Judges in London heard that Ms Dance found Archie unconscious with a ligature to his head on April 7.
She thinks he might have been participating in an online challenge.
The young man has not regained consciousness.
Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, believe he is brain dead and say continuing life-sustaining treatment is not in his best interest.
Alistair Chesser, chief medical officer at Barts Health NHS Trust, said on Friday that “further delay” in starting to provide “palliative care” to Archie “would not be appropriate” without a court order.
A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “We recognize that this is an exceptionally difficult time for the family of Archie Battersbee and our thoughts are with them.
“We have received the letter and will respond in due time.”