Archie Battersbee: Family of Southend 12-year-old boy on life-support want judge to visit hospital

Archie Battersbee was found injured at home on 7 April. Credit: PA Media

The family of a brain-damaged 12-year-old at the centre High Court dispute have called for a judge to visit him in hospital before deciding whether his life support should be withdrawn.

Archie Battersbee suffered "devastating" brain damage at home in April and a judgement on whether doctors should continue treating him is due to be made after a final hearing on 6 and 7 June.

A barrister representing hospital bosses responsible for Archie’s care told the judge at a preliminary hearing on Wednesday that the youngster’s family wanted her to see him.

Specialists treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, think it “highly likely” he is dead and say life-support treatment should end.

Archie’s parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, from Southend, Essex, disagree.

Archie Battersbee in hospital Credit: Hollie Dance/PA

Miss Dance has told how she found Archie unconscious with a ligature over his head on 7 April, and thinks he may have been taking part in an online challenge.

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot, who is considering the case at private hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London, has been told the youngster has not regained consciousness.

A specialist told the judge on Thursday that scans showed Archie had suffered “irretrievable” brain damage, and had signs of “end-point severe global brain injury”.

He said he thought another scan would show Archie’s brain tissue was dying or had died.

Another specialist told Mrs Justice Arbuthnot how her conclusion had been, after tests, that Archie was “likely” to be “brain stem dead”.

Archie Battersbee’s mother, Hollie Dance, has said she will not give up her fight for her son Credit: James Manning/PA

Fiona Paterson, who leads the legal team representing the Royal London Hospital’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, told the judge that Archie’s family wanted her to visit.

But she said it is “imperative” that the final hearing happens as planned.

“Whether Archie is still alive or not, it is imperative that this hearing goes ahead,” she said.

“If Archie is no longer with us, there is the issue of dignity.

“The more it is put off, the more his dignity is potentially compromised.”

She said specialists took the view that Archie had been “extensively investigated”, but were prepared to carry out further tests for “the sake of no stone being left unturned”.