Press Release

Statement from the family of Archie Battersbee

31 July 2022         Issued by: Christian Concern

This Saturday, the Chief Medical Officer of Barts Health NHS Trust, Alistair Chesser, was quoted in a number of media articles as saying: “We are giving Archie’s loved ones time to come to terms with the decision of the courts that treatment should not continue and are involving them at each stage. Any further delay in starting palliative care would not be appropriate without an order of the court.”

These assertions are misleading.

Firstly, “giving Archie’s loved ones time to come to terms with the decision” is precisely what the Trust has refused to do. The Trust has been dragging us as a family through the courts at a breakneck speed from 27 April till the final decision of the Supreme Court this Thursday evening. The urgent application to the UN had to be prepared overnight by our legal team and submitted Friday morning. On the same day, despite the interim measures granted by the UN, the Trust unilaterally informed us that the withdrawal will take place at 2 pm on Monday and that was not negotiable.

Secondly, “involving” us at each stage has consisted of daily point-blank, non-negotiable orders. The Trust has never made any attempt to agree any sort of compromise with us on any matters great or small. For example this Friday, our lawyers received a letter from the Trust demanding that all videos of Archie and his medical equipment taken on the ward, which we believe is evidence of improvement in Archie’s condition (such as his attempts to breathe independently) are immediately deleted; and threatened legal proceedings for an alleged breach of data protection.

Thirdly, the Trust has no intention of “starting palliative care”. As the order of Mr Justice Hayden records, the Trust informed the Court that “the implementation of paragraph 3 of this recital and paragraph 2 of the declarations set out below will result in the child, Archie Battersbee’s death, within a short period of time thereafter”. There may be different descriptions for doing an act which is known and intended to result in the child’s immediate death. “Starting palliative care” is simply not one of them. Indeed, we believe this is an insult to all those who do the noble work of palliative care.

We as a family are very disappointed that the Trust’s management has chosen to hide behind euphemisms and to mislead the public. It is hard to see any reason for that behaviour except knowing that what they are doing is cruel and wrong.

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