Doctors can lawfully stop life-support treatment for brain-damaged Archie Battersbee, High Court judge rules

·2-min read

Doctors can lawfully stop providing life-support treatment to a 12-year-old boy with severe brain damage, a High Court judge has ruled.

A barrister representing hospital bosses had told a High Court judge that continuing to treat Archie Battersbee would "delay the inevitable".

Archie has been at the centre of a legal dispute after he was seriously injured in an incident at his home in Essex in April.

His mother, Hollie Dance, said she found him unconscious with a ligature over his head on 7 April and thinks he might have been taking part in an online challenge. He has not regained consciousness.

Mr Justice Hayden had been overseeing the latest in a series of hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

He has now ruled that treatment could lawfully end, describing what had happened to Archie as a "tragedy of immeasurable dimensions".

Mr Justice Hayden said medical evidence was "compelling and unanimous", and painted a "bleak" picture.

The judge said evidence showed that Archie had suffered a "significant injury" to "multiple areas" of his brain and had not "regained awareness at any time".

Parents hope for recovery

Lawyers representing the hospital's governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, have asked Mr Justice Hayden to decide what moves are in Archie's best interests.

Another High Court judge in a previous hearing ruled that Archie was dead.

Doctors at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, have told judges they think he is "brain-stem dead".

However, Archie's parents, Ms Dance and Paul Battersbee, have campaigned for their son's treatment to continue, saying the youngster's heart is still beating.

Mr Battersbee said: "There have been too many battles in too short a space of time. He needs more time."

A lawyer representing Archie's parents indicated that they wanted to try to challenge Mr Justice Hayden's ruling in the Court of Appeal.

Ian Wise QC, who is representing Archie's parents, said it is hoped their son will "make some sort of recovery".

'We will keep on fighting'

Ms Dance said she would try to appeal against the ruling that doctors can stop treating her brain-damaged son.

"Archie would want us to keep on fighting," she said after the High Court ruling.

"And we will keep on fighting.

"We will appeal."

"We'll try to appeal. Who knows?", he said.

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