Boy at centre of treatment dispute has ‘irretrievable’ brain damage – specialist

The expert told a judge that tests showed that Archie Battersbee had signs of ‘end-point severe global brain injury’.

25 May 2022

Scans show that a 12-year-old boy at the centre of a life-support treatment dispute has suffered “irretrievable” brain damage, a specialist has told a High Court judge.

The specialist told Mrs Justice Arbuthnot, during the latest in a series of court hearings, that tests showed Archie Battersbee had signs of “end-point severe global brain injury”.

He said he thought another scan would show Archie’s brain tissue was dying or had died.

Archie Battersbee
Archie Battersbee (Hollie Dance/PA)

The judge has been told that Archie suffered brain damage in an incident at his home in early April.

She is scheduled to decide whether doctors should continue treating him after overseeing a final hearing on June 6 and 7.

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

Archie’s parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, from Southend, Essex, disagree.

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

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

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot, who is considering the case at private hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London, has been told that the youngster had not regained consciousness.

The specialist told her on Wednesday that a scan in April had shown signs of “end-point severe global brain injury”, and that that Archie had suffered “irretrievable brain damage”.

He said he believed a further scan would show that the boy’s brain tissue “is or has died”.

A barrister representing the Royal London Hospital’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, said it was “imperative” for the final hearing to happen as planned.

“Whether Archie is still alive or not, it is imperative that this hearing goes ahead,” Fiona Paterson told the judge.

Paul Battersbee
Paul Battersbee (James Manning/PA)

“If Archie is no longer with us, there is the issue of dignity.

“The more it is put off, the more his dignity is potentially compromised.”

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot is considering whether Archie should undergo further tests.

Ms Paterson said specialists took the view that Archie had been “extensively investigated”, but were prepared to carry out further tests for “the sake of no stone being left unturned”.

Archie’s family have asked the judge to visit the youngster in hospital before deciding whether treatment should end.

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