Archie Battersbee: 12-year-old boy at centre of High Court life-support treatment battle is dead, judge rules

·3-min read
Archie Battersbee: 12-year-old boy at centre of High Court life-support treatment battle is dead, judge rules

A judge has ruled that 12-year-old Archie Battersbee, who has been at the centre of a High Court life-support treatment dispute after suffering brain damage, is dead and that life support treatment should stop.

Doctors treating Archie Battersbee at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, think the youngster is “brain-stem dead”.

The boy’s parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, say his heart is still beating and want treatment to continue.

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot on Monday ruled that Archie was dead and said doctors could lawfully stop treating him.

Archie Battersbee’s mother, Hollie Dance, (centre-right) speaking outside the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel earlier. (PA)
Archie Battersbee’s mother, Hollie Dance, (centre-right) speaking outside the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel earlier. (PA)

Delivering the ruling, Mr Arbuthnot said Archie had died at noon on May 31, shortly after MRI scans taken that day.

He went on: “I find that irreversible cessation of brain stem function has been conclusively established.

“I give permission to the medical professionals at the Royal London Hospital to cease to ventilate mechanically Archie Battersbee.”

He added that that Archie’s “total lack of a prospect of recovery outweigh his Christian beliefs and the benefits to him of a continuing life on mechanical ventilation for a few more weeks or months”.

“If Archie remains on mechanical ventilation, the likely outcome for him is sudden death and the prospects of recovery are nil.

“He has no pleasure in life and his brain damage is irrecoverable.

“His position is not going to improve. The downside of such a hurried death is the inability of his loving and beloved family to say goodbye.”

Archie had suffered brain damage in an incident at home in early April, the judge heard.

Ms Dance told how she found him unconscious with a ligature over his head on April 7 and believes he might have been taking part in an online challenge.

In a statement following the ruling, Ms Dance said that the family was “devastated and extremely disappointed”.

She added: “His heart is still beating, he has gripped my hand, and as his mother, I know he is still in there.

“Until it’s God’s way I won’t accept he should go. I know of miracles when people have come back from being brain dead.”

She told the PA news agency that she would continue her “fight for justice”, saying: “All I can do is hope.

“I will keep going. I’m not giving up on my son.”

Archie Battersbee, the 12-year-old boy at the centre of a High Court life-support treatment dispute after suffering brain damage (Family handout/PA) (PA Media)
Archie Battersbee, the 12-year-old boy at the centre of a High Court life-support treatment dispute after suffering brain damage (Family handout/PA) (PA Media)

Lawyers representing Archie’s family had told the judge that his heart is still beating.

A campaign organisation called the Christian Legal Centre is supporting Archie’s family.

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the CLC, said the ruling was “a devastating moment for Archie and his family”.

“Archie’s parents do not accept that he is dead and are fighting courageously for his life,” she said.

“They will not give up now and intend to appeal. We will continue to stand with the family and continue to pray for a miracle.”

Alistair Chesser, the chief medical officer at Barts Health NHS Trust, expressed his sympathy for Archie’s family.

Speaking outside the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, Mr Chesser said: “This is a sad and difficult time for Archie’s family and our thoughts and sympathies are with them as they come to terms with what has happened.

“In line with the guidance issued by the court, our expert clinicians will provide the best possible care while life support is withdrawn.

“We are also ensuring that there is time for the family to decide whether they wish to appeal before any changes to care are made.”

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting