13 June 2022

Judge rules that boy at centre of life-support treatment fight, 12-year-old Archie Battersbee, is dead

13 June 2022

A judge has ruled that a 12-year-old boy, who has been at the centre of a High Court treatment dispute after suffering brain damage in an incident at home in April, is dead.

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

They said life-support treatment should end and Archie should be disconnected from a ventilator.

Archie’s parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, from Southend, Essex, say the youngster’s 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.

Lawyers representing the Royal London Hospital’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, had asked Mrs Justice Arbuthnot to decide what moves are in Archie’s best interests.

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot delivered a ruling on Monday.

She recently finished overseeing a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

Hollie Dance, mother of Archie Battersbee outside the High Court PA/James Manning (PA Wire)

The judge heard that Archie suffered brain damage in an incident at home in early April.

Ms Dance 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.

The youngster has not regained consciousness.

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

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

His mother also said he had gripped her hand.

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

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot concluded that Archie had died “at noon on 31st May 2022”, shortly after the most recent MRI scans had been taken.

“I find that irreversible cessation of brain stem function has been conclusively established,” she said in a written ruling.

“I give permission to the medical professionals at the Royal London Hospital to cease to ventilate mechanically Archie Battersbee; to extubate Archie Battersbee; to cease the administration of medication to Archie Battersbee and  not to attempt any cardio or pulmonary resuscitation on Archie Battersbee when cardiac output ceases or respiratory effort ceases.”

She added: “The steps I have set out above are lawful.”

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