Mother of boy, 12, who hospital think is brain dead begs judge not to end treatment

Archie Battersbee has been in a coma for a month after he was found with a ligature over his head, with parents believing he was taking part in an online challenge

Published

The mother of a 12-year-old boy at the centre of a High Court life-treatment dispute has urged a judge to give the youngster “more time”.

Specialists treating Archie Battersbee at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, think it “highly likely” that the youngster is dead and say life-support treatment should end.

Bosses at the hospital’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, on Thursday asked Mrs Justice Arbuthnot to rule that a test to establish whether Archie was brain-stem dead would be in the youngster’s best interests.

Archie Battersbee
Archie Battersbee

A doctor told the judge that the brain stem was responsible for the functions which kept people alive.

Archie’s parents Hollie Dance, 46, and Paul Battersbee, 56, who are separated and both from Southend, Essex, have raised concerns about doctors’ proposals and want treatment to continue.

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot is due to deliver a ruling on Friday.

Miss Dance has told how she found Archie with a ligature over his head on April 7 and thinks he might have been taking part in an online challenge.

She urged Mrs Justice Arbuthnot not to approve the brain-stem test.

Hollie Dance
Hollie Dance
Father of Archie Battersbee, Paul Battersbee outside the High Court in central London
Father of Archie Battersbee, Paul Battersbee outside the High Court in central London

“Everyone is in such a rush,” she told the PA news agency.

“I’m asking the judge to just give him more time – give him time to fight back.”

She added: “It’s only been five weeks – it took me longer to get over the flu. What’s the rush?”

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot oversaw a private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London, 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.

“We are standing with Archie and his family every step of the way,” said the centre’s chief executive, Andrea Williams.

“We want to give him every chance of life.”