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Judge rules 12-year-old boy’s life-support treatment should stop

On April 7, Holly Dance experienced every parent’s worst nightmare: She found her 12-year-old son Archie Battersbee unconscious in their home with some kind of ligature over his head. Holly called emergency services, who rushed the young boy to the hospital. The doctors put him on life support, and since then the boy still has not regained consciousness. Recently, a judge ruled that legally the doctors could take Archie off of life support. Holly is fighting back on that ruling.

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Archie Battersbee
Image Credit: Holly Dance

Judge Rules Archie Battersbee Can Be Taken Off Of Life Support Legally

When Holly Dance found her 12-year-old son Archie on the ground unconscious with a ligature over his head, she was terrified. During the process of rushing him to the emergency room, she didn’t have much time to think about what happened or why. Later, she learned that he was perhaps attempting an online challenge. (1)

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Since that day, Archie has been on life support at the Royal London Hospital in East London. The doctors treating Archie have said that, based on MRI scans, the boy is “brain stem dead”. The chance of recovery is extremely low. Some of the doctors believe that it is in his best interest to bring his treatments to an end. (2)

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The court recently ruled that the doctors could lawfully remove him from life support. The doctors released a statement saying that they understand how challenging of a time this is for Archie’s family. They said they would give the family time to appeal the ruling before changing his treatment.

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“This is a sad and difficult time for Archie’s family and our thoughts and sympathies are with them as they come to terms with what has happened,” they said in their statement. “In line with the guidance issued by the court, our expert clinicians will provide the best possible care while life support is withdrawn. We are also ensuring that there is time for the family to decide whether they wish to appeal before any changes to care are made.” (3)

Read: Frustrated Mom Speaks Out After Being Unable To Enroll Son In School Due to Hair Policy

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The Judge’s Ruling

As already mentioned, the judge has responded in conclusion with the doctors, stating that Archie’s chances of recovery are next to non-existent. The judge has agreed that keeping him on life support is only prolonging what the doctors have said is his inevitable passing. The judge’s written ruling is as follows:

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““I find that Archie died at noon on May 31 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.
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. The downside of such a hurried death is the inability of his loving and beloved family to say goodbye.”

The Family’s Response

His mother Holly, along with his father, have already stated that they intend to appeal the ruling. Holly has said that this is “only the beginning” and that she “will not give up on her son”. She says that she believes that her son is still there. His heart is still beating and she says that she has felt him squeeze her hand.

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“I am devastated and extremely disappointed by the judge’s ruling after weeks of fighting a legal battle when I wanted to be at my little boy’s bedside,” she said post-ruling. “Basing the judgment on an MRI test – which is the first time ever – and that he is ‘likely’ to be dead, is not good enough. This is believed to be the first time that someone has been declared ‘likely’ to be dead by an MRI test. The medical expert opinion presented in court was clear in that the whole concept of ‘brain death’ is now discredited, and in any event, Archie cannot be reliably diagnosed as brain-dead.”

She continued to explain how sad she was that both the hospital responsible for her son’s care and the judge have failed to take the family’s wishes into consideration.

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“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. From the beginning I have always thought ‘what is the rush?’,” the mom said. “His heart is still beating, he has gripped my hand, and as his mother, and with my gut instinct, 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.”

We will have to wait to see the outcome of the appeal.

Keep Reading: Parents Say Goodbye to Their Baby and Turn off Life Support, He Starts Breathing Immediately

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Sources:

  1. “Archie Battersbee: Judge rules that 12-year-old’s life support should stop” iTV News. June 13, 2022.
  2. “Archie Battersbee treatment should stop, judge rules” BBC. June 13, 2022.
  3. “What happened to Archie Battersbee? Boy, 12, ruled ‘dead’ after online challenge’ Birmingham Mail. June 13, 2022.
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