Archie Battersbee: Judge decides future of brain-damaged boy

Archie Battersbee

Heartbroken Archie Battersbee’s parents have been fighting for his life for months (Image: PA)

A High Court judge has ruled a 12-year-old suffering from brain damage is dead and life support should be stopped, despite pleas from his “devastated” family for it to continue.

Archie Battersbee was found unresponsive at his home in Essex on April 7 with a ligature around his neck.

It was initially believed to have been an “unusual accident”, but his family suspected he may have participated in a dangerous online challenge.

Medics treating him at the Royal London Hospital believe the young man is brain dead and should be taken off a ventilator.

But parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, say their son’s heart is still beating and are desperate for his treatment to continue.

Hollie previously said she felt her son squeeze her fingers “with a firm grip” and believes it’s “his way of letting me know he’s still there and just needs more time.”

In a written ruling today, a judge said: “I find that Archie died at noon on May 31, 2022, shortly after the MRI scans taken that day.

“I find that irreversible cessation of brainstem function has been conclusively demonstrated.

“I authorize the medical professionals at the Royal London Hospital to stop mechanically ventilating Archie Battersbee.”

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Mum Hollie Dance, 46, has urged a judge to give the boy ‘more time’ (Image: PA)

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The young man may have taken a dangerous online challenge (Image: PA)

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Speaking to reporters in court today, Archie’s mother said she was “devastated and extremely disappointed”.

“After weeks of litigation, when I wanted to be by my little boy’s bedside, basing the verdict on an MRI test — and that he’s probably dead, isn’t good enough,” she said.

“This is believed to be the first time someone has been declared ‘probably dead’ by an MRI test.”

In a statement, Alistair Chesser, Group Chief Medical Officer at the Royal London Hospital, said Archie will receive the “best possible care” as his life support is removed.

He added that no changes will be made until the family has been given time to appeal the verdict if they so choose.

A specialist previously told the High Court the boy’s prognosis was “very serious” and his chances of recovery were “very slim”. He has not regained consciousness.

When asked by the Barts Health NHS Trust legal team if parts of Archie’s brain and spinal cord had died and decayed, the specialist replied: “Yes.”

Hollie, who appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain in early June, told viewers she was “fighting for her son’s life”.

“If I don’t explore every path and fight for his life, we find out later that we didn’t actually care, we missed something, I’m going to spend the rest of my life not knowing and thinking, ‘What would be if, what if?” she said.

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Hollie said she was “devastated” by today’s verdict (Image: PA)

“I’m going with my gut, a mother’s instinct and a father’s, I think you should really trust that.”

A campaign organization supporting Archie’s family said the case “raises the important moral, legal and medical question of when a person is dead.”

The Christian Legal Center said: “There is no clear definition of death in English law and a case like this has never been tried in an English court.

“The result is crucial for Archie and his family and everyone who cares about the value of life in this country.

“The medical report presented in court is clear in that the whole concept of ‘brain death’ has now been discredited and in any case Archie cannot be reliably diagnosed as brain dead.”

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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/13/archie-battersbee-judge-reaches-ruling-on-brain-damaged-boys-future-16816435/ Archie Battersbee: Judge decides future of brain-damaged boy

Justin Scacco

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