Judge gives hospital permission for ‘brain stem test’ on unconscious 12-year-old

14 May 2022

On Friday (13 May), a judge at the Royal Courts of Justice gave permission for hospital bosses to go ahead with a ‘brain stem test’ on unconscious 12-year-old Archie Battersbee.

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot, who considered the case at a private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London, concluded that a brain stem test would be in Archie’s best interests. Should Archie fail the test, the Royal London Hospital where he is being treated will be seeking to withdraw his life support.

Asking for more time

Archie’s parents, 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.

They have asked 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 argued in court that the brain stem test being proposed by the hospital to assess Archie is insufficient to assess whether he is brain dead or not.

Furthermore, they have said that Archie’s parent’s are “very concerned” that their son had not received treatment to relieve swelling on his brain.

They believe he may be suffering more damage every day, which could have been avoided.

Doctors, however, have said they believe it is ‘highly likely’ that he is already brain dead and asked 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.

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

Support for Archie

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 £18,000 so far in donations, which the family say could be used to fund Archie receiving treatment abroad.

‘Not enough time’

Following the judgment, Archie’s mother, Hollie Dance, said: “I am trying to be there for my little boy while also fighting a legal battle, it is so difficult and unfair. 

“Archie had a severe brain injury only four weeks ago, there’s not been enough time to see what he can do.

“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.”

‘Fighting to give Archie the chance to recover’

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, who are supporting the family’s legal case, said: “What happened to Archie because of his accident is a tragedy. However, it will be an even greater tragedy should he be removed from ventilation when there is still hope.

“We are fighting to give Archie every chance to recover.

“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.”

Find out more about Archie Battersbee
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