Life support

Archie Battersbee: Boy on life support in London ‘probably brainstem dead’ told High Court | UK News

Doctors believe a 12-year-old boy at the center of a dispute over life-sustaining treatment is ‘highly likely’ to be ‘brain stem dead’, a High Court judge has heard.

Archie Battersbee has been treated by doctors at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, after suffering brain damage two months ago.

Doctors caring for him say the ventilator providing his life-saving treatment should be turned off, but his parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, disagree.

A specialist, who cannot be named, told a High Court judge on Tuesday that the tests showed no “discernible” brain activity but revealed “significant areas of tissue necrosis”. She added: “We think it’s very likely that he died of the brainstem.”

However, lawyers representing the family told the judge that his heart was still beating. They also questioned whether “the correct procedure” had been followed and whether “the family’s opinion” had been fully taken into account.

The Royal London Hospital’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, has asked Mrs Justice Arbuthnot, through her lawyers, to decide what action should be taken in Archie’s best interests.

Archie, from Southend in Essex, lost consciousness after an incident at his home on April 7 left him with brain damage. His mother said she found him unconscious with a ligature on his head and thought he may have participated in some sort of internet challenge. Archie has not regained consciousness since being admitted to East London Hospital.

She previously urged the judge to give her son, an avid gymnast, “more time”. “Everyone is in such a rush,” she told the PA news agency. “I ask the judge to give him more time – to give him time to defend himself. It’s only been five weeks – it took me longer to recover from the flu. What is the urgency? »

Arbuthnot was told by a specialist in a previous hearing that the brainstem was responsible for the functions that keep people alive.

A campaign organization called Christian Legal Center supports Archie’s family. Andrea Williams, its chief executive, said after an earlier decision was made for tests: ‘This case raises the important moral, legal and medical question of when a person died.

“Archie’s parents are not accepting that he is dead and are fighting for his life.”

The final hearing, before the Family Division of London High Court, is due to end on Wednesday.


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