Archie Battersbee’s parents launch new Court of Appeal in fight to keep Southend youngster alive
The parents of a 12-year-old who suffered “catastrophic” brain damage in an accident at home are preparing for the next stage of a legal fight – after a High Court judge said doctors can withdraw life-support treatment.
Archie Battersbee’s mother, Hollie Dance, said she and the youngster’s father, Paul Battersbee, would ask Court of Appeal judges to overturn Mr Justice Hayden’s ruling later this week.
Ms Dance, 46, said that appeal judges were listed to consider Archie’s case at a Court of Appeal hearing in London on Thursday (July 21).
A court official confirmed the listing.
Mr Justice Hayden described what happened to Archie, from Southend, Essex, as a “tragedy of immeasurable dimensions”.
But the judge, who delivered a ruling on Friday after reviewing evidence at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London, said medical evidence was “compelling and unanimous” and painted a “bleak” picture.
Mr Justice Hayden heard how Ms Dance found Archie unconscious with a ligature over his head on April 7.
She thinks he may have been taking part in an online challenge. The youngster has not regained consciousness.
Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, think he is “brain-stem dead” and say continued life support treatment is not in his best interests.
Archie’s parents disagree and say his heart is beating.
They are being supported by the campaign group Christian Legal Centre.
Lawyers representing the Royal London Hospital’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, had asked for decisions about what medical moves are in Archie’s best interests.
Another High Court judge, Mrs Justice Arbuthnot, initially considered the case. She concluded, after an earlier hearing, that Archie was dead.
But Court of Appeal judges upheld a challenge by Archie’s parents against decisions taken by Mrs Justice Arbuthnot and said the evidence should be reviewed.
Mr Justice Hayden said evidence showed Archie suffered a “significant injury” to “multiple areas” of his brain and had not “regained awareness at any time”.
“Archie’s mother described him as a fighter and I have no doubt he was,” said Mr Justice Hayden.
“But the fight, if it can properly be characterised as such, is no longer in Archie’s control. The damage to his brain has deprived him of any bodily autonomy.
“Eventually, Archie’s organs will fail and, ultimately, his heart will stop.”
Mr Justice Hayden said the reality of Archie’s case is “terrible”.
“There is unfortunately no treatment possible to reverse the damage that has been caused to Archie’s brain,” he said.
“There can be no hope at all of recovery.”
The judge said he reached his conclusion with “profound regret”.