The High Court has ruled that 12-year-old Archie Battersbee should be allowed to die.
Archie’s parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee and other members of Archie’s family were in court to hear Judge Mr Justice Hayden outline his conclusions on Friday (15 July).
Hayden found that ending treatment was in Archie’s best interests, describing what had happened to Archie as a ‘tragedy of immeasurable dimensions’.
The judge said: “There is unfortunately no treatment possible to reverse the damage that has been caused to Archie’s brain. There can be no hope at all of recovery.”
Last month, his parents appealed for their son to be given continued life-support treatment, but today (15 July) they were told their appeal was unsuccessful.
Archie suffered brain damage at his home on 7 April, as his mum found him unconscious and with a ligature over his head.
Doctors treating Archie said continued treatment is not in his best interests and should end, however, Archie’s parents disagree, saying his heart is still beating.
On Friday, Mr Justice Hayden, who reviewed evidence at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court earlier this week, said ending treatment was in Archie’s best interests.
Another High Court judge, Mrs Justice Arbuthnot, had earlier concluded that Archie was dead, but Court of Appeal judges upheld a challenge, made by Archie’s parents, to decisions taken by Mrs Justice Arbuthnot and said evidence should be reviewed.
Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel have told judges they think he is ‘brain-stem dead’ and insist that continued life support treatment is not in his best interests.
Archie’s mother said she found him unconscious with a ligature over his head on 7 April and thinks he might have been taking part in an online challenge. Archie has never regained consciousness.
Mr Justice Hayden said medical evidence was ‘compelling and unanimous’, and painted a ‘bleak’ picture.
The judge added that evidence showed Archie had suffered a ‘significant injury’ to ‘multiple areas’ of his brain and had not ‘regained awareness at any time’.
“Archie’s mother described him as a fighter and I have no doubt he was. But the fight, if it can properly be characterised as such, is no longer in Archie’s control,” said Mr Justice Hayden.
He added: “The damage to his brain has deprived him of any bodily autonomy. Eventually Archie’s organs will fail and ultimately his heart will stop.”
Mr Justice Hayden continued: “The medical evidence finds that for Archie improvement is not possible.
“There is unfortunately no treatment possible to reverse the damage that has been caused to Archie’s brain. There can be no hope at all of recovery.”
Featured Image Credit: Family handout
Topics: UK News