Life support

Doctors can legally stop life-sustaining treatment for brain-damaged Archie Battersbee, High Court judge says | UK News

Doctors can legally stop providing life-saving treatment to a 12-year-old boy with severe brain damage, a High Court judge has ruled.

A lawyer representing hospital bosses had told a High Court judge that continuing to treat Archie Battersbee would “delay the inevitable”.

Archie has been at the center of a legal dispute after he was seriously injured in an incident at his home in Essex in April.

His mother, Hollie Dance, said she found him unconscious with a ligature on his head on April 7 and thinks he might have taken part in an online challenge. He did not regain consciousness.

Judge Hayden had overseen the latest in a series of hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

He has now ruled the treatment can legally end, describing what happened to Archie as a “tragedy of immeasurable dimensions”.

Judge Hayden said the medical evidence was ‘compelling and unanimous’ and painted a ‘bleak’ picture.

Learn more about Archie Battersbee

The judge said the evidence showed Archie suffered a “significant injury” to “several areas” of his brain and did not “regain consciousness at any time”.

Parents hope for recovery

Lawyers representing the hospital’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, have asked Judge Hayden to decide what action to take Archiethe best interest.

Another High Court judge at an earlier hearing decided that Archie was dead.

Doctors at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, told judges they believed he was in “brain stem death”.

However, Archie’s parents, Ms Dance and Paul Battersbee, have campaigned for their son’s treatment to continue, saying the youngster’s heart is still beating.

Mr Battersbee said: “There have been too many battles in too little time. He needs more time.”

A lawyer representing Archie’s parents said they wanted to try to challenge Judge Hayden’s decision in the Court of Appeal.

Ian Wise QC, who represents Archie’s parents, said he hoped their son would “recover in some way”.

Undated family photo of Archie Battersbee's brother Tom Summers kissing Archie on the head in hospital.  A US-based doctor has told a judge tasked with deciding the future of a boy at the center of a dispute over life-sustaining treatment that he knows of cases where people diagnosed as having died by
Image:
Archie Battersbee’s brother Tom Summers kisses Archie on the head in hospital

“We will continue to fight”

Ms Dance said she would try to appeal the decision that doctors can stop treating her brain-damaged son.

“Archie would like us to keep fighting,” she said after the High Court ruling.

“And we will continue to fight.

“We will appeal.”

“We will try to appeal. Who knows?” he said.


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