Family in High Court battle to save life of 12-year-old son

12 May 2022

Today (May 12) at the Royal Courts of Justice, parents will challenge a London hospital over proposals to remove life support for their 12-year-old son, Archie Battersbee.

‘Best interests to die’

Archie’s mother, Hollie Dance, and father, Paul Battersbee, from Southend-On-Sea, want to give Archie every chance of life, after he was found unconscious with a ligature around his neck in what is believed to be a tragic accident a month ago. However, specialists treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital believe it is ‘highly likely’ that he is already brain dead and have asked a judge from the Family Division of the High Court to assess the situation and rule that it is in Archie’s ‘best interests’  to die by removing life support. His parents, however, are asking for more time and more medical tests in order to assess whether Archie’s condition improves before making the decision about withdrawing his life support.

Lawyers acting on behalf of Archie’s parents will argue that the brain stem test being proposed by the hospital to assess Archie is insufficient to assess whether he is brain dead or not.

Mrs Justice Morgan has described Archie’s case as ‘unbelievably tragic’ and said she hoped a resolution could be found.

Pray for and support Archie

Archie’s case is the latest high-profile end of life case involving children following Alife Evans, Charlie Gard, Tafeeda Raqeeb and Zainab Abbasi.

Since Archie went into hospital, his sister Lauren has started an Instagram page @spreadthepurplewave where people can follow Archie’s journey.

A keen boxer and gymnast, Archie has received videos of support from Celebrity boxers like David Haye and Ricky Hatton. A GoFundMe for Archie has also raised over £14,000 so far in donations.

‘Not enough time’

Ahead of the hearing, Ms Dance, said: “Archie had a severe brain injury only four weeks ago, there’s not been enough time to see what he can do. I’ve refused the brain stem testing to declare him brain dead. It’s too soon.

“He has squeezed my fingers with a tight grip. I think that’s his way of letting me know he’s still here and just needs more time. Only a few days ago, he began to open his eyes. When his ventilator tube was being replaced, tears appeared in his eyes.

“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. 

“He may not be the same as he was but if there’s a possibility he could live a happy life after this, I want to give it to him.”

Giving him every chance of life

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, who are supporting the family’s legal case, said: “We are standing with Archie and his family every step of the way. We want to give him every chance of life. It can never be in the ‘best interests’ of a child to die when there is still hope.

“This case raises the significant moral, legal and medical question as to when a person is dead. Archie’s parents do not accept that he is dead and are fighting for his life. Archie’s parents should be given every chance to pursue all the available medical avenues they can before having the support shut down.

“People should not have life support withdrawn prematurely in our hospitals. Archie must be given every chance and the wishes of his parents supported and respected.”

Find out more about Archie Battersbee
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