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Life Support For Brain Damaged 12-Year-Old In Coma Should Stop, High Court Rules

Emily Brown

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Life Support For Brain Damaged 12-Year-Old In Coma Should Stop, High Court Rules

A judge has ruled treatment for Archie Battersbee should stop after doctors told the high court it was 'highly likely' he was 'brain-stem dead'.

The 12-year-old boy was found unconscious at his home in Southend, Essex, on 7 April and has not regained consciousness since, instead remaining in a coma at the Royal London Hospital in east London.

Doctors treating Archie have now asked for the youngster's life support to end and that he be removed from his ventilator, however his parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, disagreed with the request.

Dance and Battersbee claimed their son's heart is still beating and that he had gripped his mother's hand, however they were overruled when Mrs Justice Arbuthnot issued a written ruling in which she concluded Archie died at noon on 31 May, based on MRI scans taken that day.

"I find that irreversible cessation of brain stem function has been conclusively established. I give permission to the medical professionals at the Royal London Hospital to cease to ventilate mechanically Archie Battersbee," the ruling stated.

The judge's decision came after the court heard Archie had suffered brain damage during an incident at home. His mother has expressed belief his injury may have been related to an online challenge.

Following Arbuthnot's decision, Dance said she was 'devastated and extremely disappointed'.

"After weeks of fighting a legal battle, when I wanted to be by my little boy's bedside, basing the judgment on an MRI test – and that he is likely to be dead – is not good enough. This is believed to be the first time that someone has been declared 'likely to be dead' by an MRI test," she said.

Archie's mother has said she feels 'sickened' at the decision. Credit: Alamy
Archie's mother has said she feels 'sickened' at the decision. Credit: Alamy

Dance said she feels 'sickened at the hospital' and claimed the judge had 'failed', saying Archie had not been given enough time and that his 'heart is still beating'.

"Until it's God's way I won't accept that he should go," she said.

Alistair Chesser, the Royal London Hospital's Group Chief Medical Officer, said Archie will be provided with the 'best possible care' as he is taken off life support, Sky News reports.

In a statement made outside the court, he commented: "We are also ensuring there is time for the family whether they wish to appeal before any changes to care are made."

Dance has confirmed plans to appeal the judge's ruling, describing the decision as 'only the start' and saying she 'will not give up the fight' for her son.

Featured Image Credit: Hollie Dance

Topics: UK News, Health

Emily Brown
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