Boy Who Suffered 'Catastrophic' Brain Damage Should Have Test To Establish If He's Dead
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A 12-year-old boy who suffered 'catastrophic' brain damage should undergo a test to establish whether he is dead, a High Court judge has ruled.
Specialists will carry out the test on Archie Battersbee next week to see if the brain injury he sustained at home more than a month ago was fatal.
Mrs Justice Arbuthnot concluded late on Friday (13 May) that a brain-stem test would be in Archie's best interests, after a doctor told her that the brain stem was responsible for the functions which kept people alive.
The judge was told that specialists treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, thought it 'highly likely' he is dead.
A spokeswoman for the hospital's governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, said after the private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London that a brain-stem test would be arranged for next week.
Archie's mum Hollie Dance - who wept as Mrs Justice Arbuthnot delivered her ruling - has told how she found her son with a ligature over his head 7 April, and thinks he might have been taking part in an online challenge.
"There's not been enough time to see what he can do," she said after the ruling.
"He has squeezed my fingers with a tight grip.
"I think that's his way of letting me know he's still here and just needs more time."
She added: "Until it's God's way I won't accept he should go.
"I know of miracles when people have come back from being brain dead.
"He may not be the same as he was, but if there's a possibility he could live a happy life after this, I want to give it to him."
Mrs Justice Arbuthnot said Archie's family - and clinicians - needed to know the results of the brain-stem test.
"I understand on a human level the family's anguish," she said.
"Anyone can appreciate how much they must dread the result."
Mrs Justice Arbuthnot oversaw a private hearing but said Archie could be named in media reports of the case.
A campaign organisation called the Christian Legal Centre said it is supporting Archie's family.
"This case raises the significant moral, legal and medical question as to when a person is dead," said the centre's chief executive, Andrea Williams.
"Archie's parents do not accept that he is dead and are fighting for his life."
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Topics: UK News