Life support

Judge rules 12-year-old Archie is dead and life support should be turned off

A judge has ruled that a 12-year-old boy, who was at the center of a treatment dispute in the High Court 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, believed the youngster was in “brain stem death”.

They said life-saving treatment should end and Archie should be taken off 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.

Madam Justice Arbuthnot ruled on Monday that Archie was dead and said doctors could legally stop treating him. Lawyers representing the Royal London Hospital’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, had asked Judge Arbuthnot to decide which moves were in Archie’s best interests.

Madam Justice Arbuthnot rendered a decision on Monday. She recently finished overseeing a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

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 on his head on April 7 and thought he might have taken part in an online challenge.

The young man did not regain consciousness. Lawyers representing Archie’s family had told the judge his heart was still beating.

His mother also said he shook her hand. A campaign organization called Christian Legal Center supports Archie’s family.

Madam Justice Arbuthnot found that Archie died “at noon on May 31, 2022”, shortly after the last MRI scans. “I find that irreversible brain stem function arrest has been definitely established,” she said in a written decision.

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

She added, “The steps I’ve outlined above are legal.”


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