‘We need reform – these are life and death cases for children’

19 May 2022

12-year-old Archie Battersbee, a boy from South East London, has hit the headlines in recent weeks, after a freak accident left him unconscious, likely by an online challenge gone wrong, his mum believes.

Doctors believe him to be brain dead, and applied to the High Court to complete a ‘brain stem test’, which involves switching off his life support. The Court agreed to allow doctors to complete the test, which, if Archie is capable of making some recovery, could ruin his chances of survival.

Archie’s mum, Hollie Dance, spoke to BBC Radio Essex, alongside the Christian Legal Centre’s Roger Kiska, which is helping to support the family. Hollie commented: “Something needs to be done because I don’t want any other parent out there to feel or go through what I’m going through, or potentially what Archie’s going through at the moment.”

Roger added: “The family are understandably upset; it’s only been a month, and with brain injuries, it takes a while for the swelling to go down … Hollie’s praying for a miracle; she understands that the Archie that could come back would be significantly different from the boy she remembers. But she loves her son desperately and wants him to live, and feels that, if given the time, he could make a recovery of some kind at least.”

Asked why the family was opposed to the final stage of the brain stem test, Roger explained that the test is often not completely accurate, and that Archie has been responding: “Unfortunately, there seems to be this situation where parents aren’t being allowed to have their say. Hospitals are going to the High Court … once the facts are set, it’s very difficult to appeal them. I think there needs to be some reform – these are life and death cases with children involved.”

16 May 2022
BBC Radio Essex

Find out more about Archie Battersbee
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