Life support

Doctors say boy in survival fight is ‘unresponsive’ and won’t recover

A 12-year-old boy at the center of a dispute over life-sustaining treatment after suffering brain damage three months ago is ‘unresponsive’ and will not recover, a lawyer representing the bosses has claimed hospital to a High Court judge.

Martin Westgate QC told Judge Hayden on Monday that Archie Battersbee suffered a “devastating” brain injury in a home incident in April and specialists do not believe it is in his best interest to continue treatment.

The judge is overseeing the latest in a series of hearings before the Family Division of the High Court in London.

He reviews the evidence after another High Court judge previously ruled Archie dead.

Archie’s parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, from Southend, Essex, hope he decides doctors should continue to provide treatment.

Archie Battersbee’s mother Hollie Dance (right) and family friend Ella Carter outside the High Court in London (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

(PA wire)

Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, told judges they believed Archie was ‘brain stem dead’.

They say the treatment needs to end and Archie needs to be taken off a ventilator.

Archie’s parents hope he recovers.

Lawyers representing the Royal London Hospital’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, have asked Judge Hayden to decide which moves are in Archie’s best interests.

“He is unresponsive and has no prospect of recovery,” Westgate, who leads the trust’s legal team, told Judge Hayden on Monday.

“The trust has come to the conclusion that continuing the treatment is no longer in their best interests.”

Trust bosses initially asked Mrs Justice Arbuthnot to decide which measures were in Archie’s best interests.

She had concluded that Archie was dead and ruled that doctors could legally stop providing treatment.

Archie Battersbee, 12, is at the center of a legal dispute over the treatment of life (Family handout/PA)

(PA Media)

Archie’s parents had challenged Madam Justice Arbuthnot’s rulings in the Court of Appeal.

Three appellate judges upheld their challenge and ruled that evidence relating to what was in Archie’s best interests should be reconsidered by another High Court judge.

A lawyer representing Ms Dance and Mr Battersbee had argued before the Court of Appeal that Judge Arbuthnot had made mistakes.

Edward Devereux QC argued that Judge Arbuthnot failed to carry out a ‘full’ analysis of the evidence relating to whether or not life-sustaining treatment was continued.

Mr Devereux also argued that the evidence did not show ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ that Archie was dead.

Archie suffered brain damage in an incident at his home in early April, judges heard.

Ms Dance said she found her son unconscious with a ligature on his head on April 7 and believes he may have taken part in an online challenge.

He did not regain consciousness.

Father of Archie Battersbee, Paul Battersbee outside the High Court in central London. AP/James Manning

(PA wire)

A lawyer leading the legal team for Archie’s parents told Judge Hayden he hoped the youngster would make ‘some sort of recovery’ and argued that further treatment was not ‘unnecessary’ .

Ian Wise QC said Archie would want a ‘natural’, not ‘choreographed’ death.

He said Archie’s parents accept that it would be appropriate for the youngster “not to be resuscitated” if he goes into cardiac arrest.

“The parents hope and pray that Archie recovers,” Mr Wise told Judge Hayden in a written case brief.

“In this case, the treatment is not futile as long as it is effective (it keeps Archie alive) and gives effect to Archie’s wish to have a ‘natural’ death as opposed to a choreographed death. “

Mr Wise said Archie’s parents want the judge to rule that “it is legal and in Archie’s best interests to continue to receive life-saving treatment, including mechanical ventilation; however, it is not in his best interest to be given CPR in the event of a cardiac arrest, nor in his best interest to be given intensive life-sustaining care that his parents and the trust do not deem appropriate” .


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