Despite doctors’ warnings that Archie Battersbee is likely to have serious brain damage, his parents Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee have argued that he should be given more time to recover.
Archie was found unconscious at his family home in Southend, Essex, in April after taking part in what was believed to be an online ‘blackout’ challenge.
He is still in a coma and his family’s hopes of recovery were dashed yesterday when a High Court judge ruled he was dead.
Mum Hollie, 46, said: ‘I am devastated and extremely disappointed by the judge’s decision after weeks of legal battle when I wanted to be by my boy’s bedside.
“This case raises important moral, legal and medical questions as to when someone died. We intend to appeal and will not abandon Archie.”
Madam Justice Arbuthnot concluded that the youngster had died “at noon on May 31, 2022”. It was shortly after the last MRIs.
The judge allowed medics at the Royal London Hospital in east London to stop mechanical ventilation and not attempt resuscitation.
She added: “If Archie remains on a mechanical ventilator, the likely outcome for him is sudden death and the prospects for recovery are zero.
“He has no enjoyment in life and his brain damage is irrecoverable. His situation is not going to improve. The downside of such a hasty death is the inability of his beloved family to say goodbye to him. .”
Hollie said Archie grabbed her hand in hospital and questioned the use of MRI tests to pronounce him dead.
There are strict medical tests to determine if someone meets the criteria for brainstem death, but in Archie’s case, they couldn’t be used due to the nature of his injuries.
But his mother added: ‘This is believed to be the first time someone has been declared ‘likely’ to be dead based on an MRI test.
“The expert opinion presented to the court was clear in that the whole concept of ‘brain dead’ is now discredited. In any event, Archie cannot be reliably diagnosed as brain dead. .”
However, Professor Dominic Wilkinson, a medical ethics expert at Oxford University, told the Daily Express that all signs suggested Archie would not recover even given more time.
He said: “In the most extreme forms of brain damage, no matter how long you wait, you won’t have any meaningful recovery.
“That was the evidence presented by all the experts who saw Archie.”