A judge has ruled that a 12-year-old boy with catastrophic brain damage is dead and that his treatment can stop.
Archie Battersbee has not regained consciousness since an accident at his home on 7 April, when he was discovered with a ligature over his head.
On Monday Mrs Justice Arbuthnot, sitting in the family division of the high court, backed doctors at the Royal London hospital in east London who concluded that Archie was “brain-stem dead” and should no longer be kept alive. She said doctors could lawfully stop treating him.
Archie’s mother, Hollie Dance, from Southend, Essex, said she was devastated by the ruling and the family planned to appeal.
In a written ruling, the judge said: “I find that Archie died at noon on 31 May 2022, which was shortly after the MRI scans taken that day. 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; to extubate Archie Battersbee; to cease the administration of medication to Archie Battersbee and not to attempt any cardio or pulmonary resuscitation on Archie Battersbee when cardiac output ceases or respiratory effort ceases. The steps I have set out above are lawful.”
She continued: “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.”
Dance said she was “devastated and extremely disappointed” by the ruling. She said: “We intend to appeal and will not give up on Archie.”
She added: “I feel sickened that the hospital and the judge have failed to take the wishes of the family into consideration. I do not believe Archie has been given enough time.
“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. This case raises the significant moral, legal and medical questions as to when a person is dead. What does this ruling today tell us about where our society is at?”
Archie’s family were supported by the Christian Legal Centre campaign group.
What happened to Archie Battersbee?
On April 7, 2022, Hollie Dance, found her son, Archie, unconscious and with a ligature around his neck.
Ms. Dance believes her son lost consciousness while doing an “internet challenge”.
Archie was admitted to the Royal London Hospital and has not regained consciousness.