A legal ruling is due this morning on whether Archie Battersbee’s family can move him from hospital to a hospice so he can die “with dignity”.
The family’s lawyers had appealed for the move in a long High Court hearing on Thursday, the culmination of several legal challenges which had aimed to ensure the boy’s life-sustaining treatment continues.
Archie, 12, has been in a coma since being found unconscious by his mother at their home in Southend, Essex, in April.
Doctors treating him at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, believe the youngster is brain-stem dead and say continued life support is not in his best interest.
Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, has said that Archie’s condition is too unstable for him to be transferred.
They argued that moving him to a hospice via ambulance “would most likely hasten the premature deterioration the family wish to avoid, even with full intensive care equipment and staff on the journey”.
Archie’s mother, Hollie 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’.”
She had complained to Times Radio that the family is unable to be in a room together without nurses.
“There’s absolutely no privacy, which is why, again, the courts keep going on about this dignified death – why aren’t we allowed to take our child to a hospice and spend his last moments, his last days together privately?
“Why is the hospital obstructing it?”
A High Court order made in July requires that Archie remains at the Royal London Hospital while his treatment is withdrawn.
A family spokesperson said that a hospice has agreed to take him.