Judge Rules That Life Support Treatment For Archie Battersbee, 12, Should Be Turned Off
A judge has ruled that life support treatment for 12-year-old Archie Battersbee should be stopped. Archie was found unconscious at his home in Southend, Essex, England, on 7 April and has never regained consciousness. The boy's family said they intended to appeal the ruling.
12-year-old Archie Battersbee was found unconscious at his home in Southend, Essex, on 7 April. The doctors that have been treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital told the High Court it was "highly likely" he was "brain-stem dead" and requested that his life support ended.
Hollie Dance, Archie's distraught mother, said that she was "devastated" and the family was planning to appeal.
The court had heard previously how Archie suffered brain damage during an incident at home, which Ms Dance believed may have related to an online challenge - he has not regained consciousness since.
Ms Dance, and Archie's father, Paul Battersbee, disagreed with the hospital and have been supported by the Christian Legal Centre.
Ms Dance issued a statement after hearing the courts decision, she said: "I am devastated and extremely disappointed by the judge's ruling after weeks of fighting a legal battle when I wanted to be at my little boy's bedside. "Basing this judgement 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 based on an MRI test."
Ms Dance added that she felt "sickened" that the hospital and the judge had not taken into account the wishes of the family and said she did "not believe Archie has been given enough time". She added: "His heart is still beating, he has gripped my hand, and as his mother, I know he is still in there.
"Until it's God's way I won't accept he should go. I know of miracles when people have come back from being brain dead. "We intend to appeal and will not give up on Archie."
Lawyers representing Barts Health NHS Trust, the hospital's governing trust, had requested that the judge decides what actions were in the best interests of Archie. Specialists said tests had shown no "discernible" brain activity.
During a written ruling, Mrs Justice Arbuthnot concluded that Archie Battersbee died at noon on 31 May based on MRI scans carried out that day.
The judge said: "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."
Mrs Justice Arbuthnot commended Archie's family and called their devotion to their son "extraordinary".
She also said: "If Archie remains on mechanical ventilation, the likely outcome for him is sudden death and the prospects of recovery are nil. "He has no pleasure in life and his brain damage is irrecoverable. "His position is not going to improve. "The downside of such a hurried death is the inability of his loving and beloved family to say goodbye."
Judge Arbuthnot added that if she had not concluded Archie was dead, she would have ruled that it was not in his best interests to continue to receive life-support treatment.
She added: "The steps I have set out above are lawful."
The chief medical officer at Barts Health NHS Trust, Alistair Chesser, said: "Our thoughts and sympathies are with Archie's family.
"In line with the guidance issued by the court, our expert clinicians will provide the best possible care while life support is withdrawn. "We are also ensuring that there is time for the family to decide whether they wish to appeal before any changes to care are made."
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