The family of a 12-year-old boy at the centre of a life-support treatment dispute are praying for miracles as they wait for a judge to rule on his future, a court has heard.
Archie Battersbee has been unconscious since being found at home on 7 April, and experts say his brain damage is so severe that the chances of recovery are very low.
A spokeswoman for Archie’s family on Tuesday told Mrs Justice Arbuthnot that everyone hoped he would recover.
But Ella Carter said relatives were aware that Archie has suffered a “catastrophic” brain injury. She said a “natural” death would be easier to come to terms with.
Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, think Archie is “brain-stem dead”.
They say life-support treatment should end and the youngster should be disconnected from a ventilator.
Archie’s parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, from Southend, Essex, say the youngster’s heart is still beating and want treatment to continue.
Lawyers representing the Royal London Hospital’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, have asked Mrs Justice Arbuthnot to decide what moves are in Archie’s best interests.
Mrs Justice Arbuthnot is overseeing a final hearing – due to end on Wednesday – in the Family Division of the High Court in London.
A specialist said tests had shown no “discernible” brain activity, but revealed “significant areas of tissue necrosis”, and she added: “We believe that it is very likely that he is brain-stem dead.”
The judge had been told by a doctor at an earlier hearing that the brain stem was responsible for the functions that kept people alive.
Mrs Justice Arbuthnot has heard that Archie suffered brain damage in an incident at home in early April.
Ms Dance has told how she found him unconscious with a ligature over his head on 7 April and thinks he might have been taking part in an online challenge.
The youngster has not regained consciousness.
Lawyers representing Archie’s family have told the judge that his heart is still beating.
They also say there was an issue as to whether “the correct procedure” had been followed, and whether the “family’s views” had been taken into account.
A campaign organisation called the Christian Legal Centre is supporting Archie’s family.
The hearing continues.
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