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Wednesday, 08 June 2022 – The family of a young boy who has been unconscious since April are currently battling the management of a hospital in court over whether to remove his life support.
Archie Battersbee, 12, was found unresponsive with a ligature around his neck at his home in Essex, UK on April 7.
His family believes he may have been taking part in a dangerous online challenge.
He was taken to the hospital where doctors say his chances of recovery is low, hence he should be taken off life support. However his family still believe he is ‘fighting’ as his heart still beats.
A doctor from the Royal London Hospital told a High Court judge his chances of recovery from brain damage are ‘very low’.
A specialist, who cannot be named, told Mrs Justice Arbuth said the lower part of Archie’s brain stem was significantly damaged, and the upper part also had damage to it.
Tests showed no sign of improvement since mid-April but there were signs of deterioration, he said, adding the boy’s prognosis was ‘very grave’ and his chances of recovery were ‘very low’.
‘I think Archie has sustained serious enough brain damage that a point of return is unlikely,’ he told the court.
The judge ruled that Archie should undergo further scans, including a brain stem test, before she makes her final decision on Wednesday, June 8.
Asked by Barts Health NHS Trust’s legal team if parts of the boy’s brain and spinal cord had died, and were decaying, the specialist replied: ‘Yes.’
Archie’s family told the judge his heart is still beating, and questioned whether the ‘correct procedure’ had been followed and if their views had been taken into account.
They previously shared concerns the tests could cause more damage, and asked why he had not received treatment to relieve the swelling in his brain.
While specialists have told previous hearings they believed Archie was ‘brain-stem dead’ and had suffered ‘irretrievable’ brain damage, his mum Hollie Dance said he needed more time to recover.
Speaking in May, five weeks after the accident, the 46-year-old mum (pictured below) said:
‘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.’
The legal team for Barts Health NHS Trust had earlier told Mrs Justice Arbuthnot: ‘The scans, once they are interpreted, paint a picture that may be very hard to bear.
‘[A doctor has said] that very sadly Archie’s digestive system is no longer absorbing nourishment properly as a result of his brain injury.’
The final hearing for the case is due to end on Wednesday.