An NHS A trust boss says staff are giving relatives of a 12-year-old boy in a coma after suffering brain damage time to “come to terms” with a judge’s decision that life-sustaining treatment should be withdrawn.
But Alistair Chesser, Chief Medical Officer Barts Health NHS Trustsaid on Friday that there was “further delay” in starting “palliative care”. Archie Battersby would be “inappropriate” without a court order.
Archie’s parents, Holly Dance and Paul Battersby, asked United Nations intervene.
They say they have made a “last-ditch” application to the UN committee after losing their life-support treatment dispute in the London courts.
A representative of the family said they want the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to review the young man’s case.
He said the UN representative had written confirmation of the request.
Mr Chesser said staff had their “deepest sympathies” with Archie’s family.
“We are giving Archie’s loved ones time to come to terms with the court’s decision that treatment should not continue, and we are involving them every step of the way,” he said in a statement.
“Any further delay in starting palliative care would be inappropriate without a court order.”
A High court After reviewing the evidence, the judge ruled that it was in Archie’s best interest to stop treatment.
The teenager’s parents, who are separated but both live in Southend, Essex, failed to persuade Court of Appeal judges to overturn the ruling, while Supreme Court judges refused to intervene.
Archie’s parents are supported by a company called the Christian Law Center.
A spokesman for the center announced the latest move and said it had made a “final bid”.
“Archie’s parents want the UN committee to review Archie’s case, arguing that it has a protocol that allows ‘individuals and families’ to file complaints about violations of the rights of people with disabilities,” the spokesman said.
“The family claims that stopping the treatment would be in breach of the UK’s obligations under articles … of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.”
Archie’s parents asked the hospital authorities to continue the treatment until the UN looked into the case.
Magistrates heard Ms Dance found Archie unconscious with a ligature on his head on April 7.
She thinks he may have been participating in an online competition.
The young man did not regain consciousness.
Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, believe he died of a brain stem attack and say further treatment is not in his best interests.
Bosses at the hospital’s managing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, have been asked to decide what medical steps are in Archie’s best interests.
A High Court judge, Mrs Arbuthnot, initially heard the case and concluded that Archie was dead.
But appeal court judges allowed his parents’ appeal against the rulings by Mrs Justice Arbuthnot and said the evidence should be heard by another High Court judge, Mr Justice Hayden.
Archie’s parents have released a letter they received from a UN official in Geneva after the application was made.
The letter said that the “State party” was asked to “refrain from withdrawing life-sustaining medical treatment” while the case “is pending before the Committee”.
It said the request “does not mean that a decision has been made on the merits of the matter at hand.”