Mother of boy at centre of treatment fight urges judge to let him die naturally

·2-min read
Hollie Dance. The mother of a 12-year-old boy who suffered brain damage three months ago, urged judges to let him die naturally (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)
Hollie Dance. The mother of a 12-year-old boy who suffered brain damage three months ago, urged judges to let him die naturally (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)

The mother of a 12-year-old boy at the centre of a life-support treatment fight after suffering a “devastating” brain injury three months ago has urged a High Court judge to let him die a natural death.

Doctors treating Archie Battersbee say continued treatment is not in his best interests and should end.

But on Monday Hollie Dance told Mr Justice Hayden that her son would want treatment to continue.

Miss Dance, who lives in Southend, Essex, told the judge that Archie was a “fighter by nature” and said she was “his voice”.

Mr Justice Hayden is overseeing the latest in a series of hearings, in the Family Division of the High Court in London, centred on Archie.

Another High Court judge had earlier ruled that Archie was dead, but Court of Appeal judges upheld a challenge, made by Archie’s parents, to decisions taken by Mrs Justice Arbuthnot and said evidence should be reviewed.

Archie Battersbee, 12, is at the centre of a legal dispute (Family handout/PA) (PA Media)
Archie Battersbee, 12, is at the centre of a legal dispute (Family handout/PA) (PA Media)

Miss Dance told Mr Justice Hayden on Monday that she was “100%” sure Archie would want treatment to continue.

“I think we come into this world naturally,” she told the judge.

“Let nature take its course.”

She added: “If it is God’s will and Archie wants to give up, then let nature take its course.”

Miss Dance said Archie was a “natural-born fighter”.

“If Archie gives up fighting his illness and dies, I can accept that,” she said.

“But if we switch off the ventilator, knowing that Archie will die, I cannot agree to that.”

She said: “That little boy is fighting in my opinion. He cannot talk, he is unconscious. I am his voice. I am going to fight for him until Archie decides I can stop fighting.”

Archie Battersbee’s mother Hollie Dance (right) and family friend Ella Carter, outside the High Court in London (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)
Archie Battersbee’s mother Hollie Dance (right) and family friend Ella Carter, outside the High Court in London (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)

Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, have told judges how they think he is “brain-stem dead” and say continued life support treatment is not in his best interests.

Lawyers representing the Royal London Hospital’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, have asked for decisions on what moves are in Archie’s best interests.

Father of Archie Battersbee, Paul Battersbee outside the High Court in central London. PA/James Manning (PA Wire)
Father of Archie Battersbee, Paul Battersbee outside the High Court in central London. PA/James Manning (PA Wire)

Archie’s father Paul Battersbee, who also lives in Southend but is separated from Miss Dance, told Mr Justice Hayden that Archie would “not want to leave” his mother.

“I think he should be left for a bit longer,” he said.

“I am not looking at it through rose-tinted glasses, but it has only been 12 or 13 weeks and doctors have got it wrong before.”

He added: “The most important thing for me is to know he has gone in God’s way.”

Archie’s mother has told how she found him unconscious with a ligature over his head on April 7 and thinks he might have been taking part in an online challenge.

He has not regained consciousness.

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