Archie Battersbee’s parents prepare for next stage of legal battle after judge rules doctors can withdraw life-support

Archie Battersbee’s parents prepare for next stage of legal battle after judge rules doctors can withdraw life-support
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Aden-Jay Wood

By Aden-Jay Wood

Published: 19/07/2022

- 17:36

Updated: 14/02/2023

- 10:49

The 12-year-old's parents are set to ask Court of Appeal judges to overturn the High Court ruling

The parents of a 12-year-old who suffered “catastrophic” brain damage in an accident at home are preparing for the next stage of a legal fight – after a High Court judge said doctors can withdraw life-support treatment.

Archie Battersbee’s mother, Hollie Dance, says she and the youngster’s father, Paul Battersbee, will ask Court of Appeal judges to overturn Mr Justice Hayden’s ruling later this week.

Ms Dance, 46, said on Tuesday that appeal judges are listed to consider Archie’s case at a Court of Appeal hearing in London on Thursday.

A court official confirmed the listing.

Undated family handout file photo of Archie Battersbee, 12, whose mother Hollie Dance, 46, is at the centre of a High Court life-treatment dispute has urged a judge to give the youngster %22more time%22. Specialists will next week carry out a test to try to establish whether a 12-year-old boy at the centre of a life-support treatment dispute after suffering %22catastrophic%22 brain damage in an incident at home is dead, hospital bosses say. Issue date: Saturday May 14, 2022.
Archie Battersbee
Hollie Dance

Mr Justice Hayden described what happened to Archie, from Southend, Essex, as a “tragedy of immeasurable dimensions”.

But the judge, who delivered a ruling on Friday after reviewing evidence at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London, said medical evidence was “compelling and unanimous” and painted a “bleak” picture.

Mr Justice Hayden heard how Ms Dance found Archie unconscious with a ligature over his head on April 7.

She thinks he may have been taking part in an online challenge.

The youngster has not regained consciousness.

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

Archie’s parents disagree and say his heart is beating.

They are being supported by the campaign group Christian Legal Centre.

Archie Battersbee's mother, Hollie Dance
Archie Battersbee's mother, Hollie Dance
Yui Mok

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

Another High Court judge, Mrs Justice Arbuthnot, initially considered the case.

She concluded, after an earlier hearing, that Archie is dead.

But Court of Appeal judges upheld a challenge by Archie’s parents against decisions taken by Mrs Justice Arbuthnot and said the evidence should be reviewed.

Mr Justice Hayden said evidence shows Archie suffered a “significant injury” to “multiple areas” of his brain and has not “regained awareness at any time”.

“Archie’s mother described him as a fighter and I have no doubt he was,” said Mr Justice Hayden.

“But the fight, if it can properly be characterised as such, is no longer in Archie’s control.

“The damage to his brain has deprived him of any bodily autonomy.

“Eventually, Archie’s organs will fail and, ultimately, his heart will stop.”

Mr Justice Hayden said the reality of Archie’s case is “terrible”.

“There is unfortunately no treatment possible to reverse the damage that has been caused to Archie’s brain,” he said.

“There can be no hope at all of recovery.”

The judge said he reached his conclusion with “profound regret”.

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