Life support

Judge rules boy in fight for life sustaining treatment is dead

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.

On Monday, Judge Arbuthnot ruled Archie 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.

Hollie Dance, mother of Archie Battersbee, outside the High Court (James Manning/PA)

Lawyers representing Archie’s family had told the judge his heart was still beating.

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.”

Archie Battersbee case
Archie Battersbee’s father, Paul Battersbee, outside the High Court in London (James Manning/PA)

The judge continued: “If Archie remains on a mechanical ventilator, the likely outcome for him is sudden death and the prospects for recovery are nil.

“He has no pleasure in life and his brain damage is irrecoverable.

“His position is not going to improve.

“The downside of such a hasty death is the inability of his loving and beloved family to say goodbye.”

The judge said that if she hadn’t concluded Archie was dead, she would have decided it wasn’t in his best interests to continue receiving life-saving treatment.

Ms Dance said she was aiming to launch a tender offer.

“I am devastated and extremely disappointed by the judge’s decision after weeks of legal battle as I wanted to be at my baby boy’s bedside,” she said in a statement after the decision.

“I am disgusted that the hospital and the judge did not take into account the wishes of the family.

“I don’t think Archie had enough time.

“From the start, I always thought ‘why the rush?’

“His heart is still beating, he shook my hand, and as a mother, I know he’s still here.

“Until it’s God’s way, I won’t let him go.

“I know miracles when people come back from brain death.

“This case raises important moral, legal and medical questions about when a person died.

“What does today’s decision tell us about the situation of our society?

She said: “We intend to appeal and will not give up on Archie.”

Ms Dance added: ‘Basing that judgment on an MRI test and the fact that he is ‘likely’ to be dead, is not enough.

“This is believed to be the first time a person has been declared ‘likely’ to be dead based on an MRI test.

“The medical expert’s opinion presented to the court was clear in that the whole concept of ‘brain death’ is now discredited and, in any event, Archie cannot be reliably diagnosed as being in good condition. brain dead.”

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Center, said: “This decision sets a disturbing and dark precedent.

“This case has raised important moral, legal and medical questions about when a person died.”

She added: “We will continue to stand with the family and pray for a miracle.”

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