The mum of a young boy on a life support machine has issued an urgent appeal to the government after it was decided his life support machine would be switched off.
Archie Battersbee, just 12 years old, was found unconscious with a ligature over his head on April 7 by his horrified mother, Hollie Dance.
Holly now thinks he may have been taking part in the Blackout Challenge, a disturbing online trend that sees young people try different destructive methods to cause themselves to become unconscious.
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Archie has not regained consciousness, instead falling into a comatose state, which he remains in today.
Following his discovery by Ms Dance, Archie has been on a life support machine at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London.
But now it has been confirmed that the hospital will go ahead with plans to end Archie's care, switching off the machine that's kept him alive at 2pm tomorrow.
In a letter to Ms Dance and Paul Battersbee, the youngster's dad, the hospital said that 'all fluid infusions, medications, including vasopressin will be stopped' following a High Court ruling that this was in Archie's best interests.
The letter read: "We understand that any discussions around the withdrawal of Archie’s treatment are very difficult and painful.
"However, we want to ensure that you and your family are involved as much as you wish to be."
The letter also reassured the family that they would be able to be with Archie in his final moments.
"You or any of the family may wish to lie on Archie’s bed with him or have him in your arms, if that should be practically possible."
But the heartbroken parents, who are separated but both live in Southend, Essex, haven't given up hope and asked the UN to intervene in a 'last-ditch' appeal, with the international organisation responding it had written to the UK Government asking for Archie’s life support to remain on for now, giving its committee a chance to consider the child's case.
It wrote: "This request does not imply that any decision has been reached on the substance of the matter under consideration."
The family said stopping treatment would be in breach of international human rights law.
His mother wrote to Health Secretary Stephen Barclay: "If this happens, this will be an extraordinary cruelty, and a flagrant breach of Archie’s rights as a disabled person.
"Archie is entitled to have the decisions about his life and death, taken by the NHS and UK courts, to be scrutinised by an international human rights body. Hastening his death to prevent that would be completely unacceptable.
"I trust that you will now act immediately, as a member of the Government responsible for the NHS, to ensure that this does not happen, and our country honours its obligations under the international human rights treaties which we have signed and ratified."
Medical professionals treating Archie believe he is brain-stem dead, meaning that the care he is currently receiving is not in his best interest.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: "We recognise this is an exceptionally difficult time for Archie Battersbee’s family and our thoughts are with them.
"We have received the letter and will respond in due course."
Alistair Chesser, Chief Medical Officer for Barts Health NHS Trust, who manage the hospital where Archie is currently being treated, said ‘further delay’ in providing the youngster with ‘palliative care’ would ‘not be appropriate’ without a court order.
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