Doctors say it’s ‘very likely’ boy at centre of treatment dispute is ‘brain-stem dead’

A specialist listed a series of concerns about Archie Battersbee, 12, who lost consciousness after suffering brain damage in an incident at his home.

07 June 2022

Doctors treating a 12-year-old boy at the centre of a life-support treatment dispute think it’s “very likely” he is “brain-stem dead”, a specialist has told a High Court judge.

The specialist on Tuesday listed a series of concerns about Archie Battersbee, who lost consciousness after suffering brain damage in an incident at his home two months ago.

Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, say life-support treatment should end and the youngster should be disconnected from a ventilator.

Archie Battersbee court case
Hollie Dance, mother of Archie Battersbee outside the High Court PA/James Manning

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

Lawyers representing the Royal London Hospital’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, have asked Mrs Justice Arbuthnot to decide what moves are in Archie’s best interests.

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot is overseeing a final hearing – due to end on Wednesday – in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

The specialist, who cannot be named, told the judge about a number of concerns noted by Archie’s treating team.

She said tests had shown no “discernible” brain activity, but revealed “significant areas of tissue necrosis”, and added: “We believe that it is very likely that he is brain-stem dead.”

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot has heard that Archie suffered brain damage in an incident at home in early April.

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

The youngster has not regained consciousness.

Archie Battersbee court case
Father of Archie Battersbee, Paul Battersbee outside the High Court in central London. PA/James Manning

Lawyers representing Archie’s family have told the judge that his heart is still beating.

They also say there was an issue as to whether “the correct procedure” had been followed, and whether the “family’s views” had been taken into account.

The judge had been told by a specialist at an earlier hearing that the brain stem was responsible for the functions that kept people alive.

A campaign organisation called the Christian Legal Centre is supporting Archie’s family.

The hearing continues.

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