life support machine

Mother begs judge to give her son ‘more time’ as she fights for his life support to stay on

A hospital wants to take a 12-year-old boy off of life support but his mother is battling for “more time”. Specialists at Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel who are treating young Archie Battersbee say it “highly likely” he is dead after suffering severe brain damage. Meanwhile, Archie’s parents Hollie Dance, 46, and Paul Battersbee, 56, fight for the treatment to continue.

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He’s still here and just needs more time…

Dance found her son on April 7 with a ligature around his neck. She believes this was a freak accident or he was trying some kind of online challenge. He has not woken up since. Before the hearing, Dance criticized the hospital for rushing to turn off life support.

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“Archie had a severe brain injury only four weeks ago; there’s not been enough time to see what he can do. I’ve refused the brain stem testing to declare him brain dead. It’s too soon.

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“He has squeezed my fingers with a tight grip. I think that’s his way of letting me know he’s still here and just needs more time. 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.”

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Hollie Dance and her son Archie
Image Credit: Hollie Dance

The mother tried to postpone the brain-stem test, but the judge gave the go-ahead and the test was carried out.

“This is a severe brain injury that this child has had, possibly a spinal injury on top and it’s too soon, he needs time to heal,” Dance said. “I’ve been told he’s brain dead from day three of him being in there. The first time the test was carried out was yesterday, and it had to be terminated (because it did not work).” [1]

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The Results of the Nerve Stimulation Test

Two specialists had attempted a nerve stimulation test but detected no response. “Regardless of whether a patient is brain-stem dead or brain-stem alive, the test should produce responses in the form of small twitches in specified muscles,” said Fiona Paterson for Barts Health NHS Trust, in a written case outline. “Unfortunately, when the peripheral nerve stimulation test was attempted on Archie, no response was detected. Both doctors concluded that they could not proceed with the brain-stem assessment as it appeared that no response would be elicited from Archie during the brain-stem testing regardless of whether his brain stem was functioning or not.[2]

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Archie Batterbee is in a coma at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, London
Archie Batterbee in a coma at the Royal London Hospital in London. Image Credit: Hollie Dance

Bruno Quintavalle, who is representing the parents, stated they were concerned that the test was not reliable when it comes to determining a death. Plus, they were concerned their son was not receiving treatments to reduce the swelling in his brain. “The concern is that he may be suffering every day more damage which could have been avoided,” he said. [3]

However, the hospital trust states that it’s unlikely Archie will regain consciousness. “The trust remains concerned by the inherently unstable nature of Archie’s condition, by virtue of his injuries, which could lead to his rapid deterioration with little or no warning,” said Paterson. “The issue with which the court is seized is whether it is in Archie’s best interests to continue to mechanically ventilate him. The trust submits that, very sadly, all of the evidence… indicates that it is probable that Archie will never regain consciousness (or awareness) nor will he breathe independently again.

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We want to give him every chance of life.

Archie’s siblings, Tom, 22, and Lauren, 20, visit him every day with his parents. They talk to him, and play music and voice notes from his friends. Dance asked the Essex Police to look over Archie’s phone to see if he was participating in an online challenge at the time of his injury. 

The judge will oversee a final hearing about this case on June 6 and 7. She made this ruling after the lawyers representing the hospital stated “all of the evidence” points to Archie never regaining consciousness.

The campaign organization, Christian Legal Center, is supporting Archie at this time. “We are standing with Archie and his family every step of the way,” said the centre’s chief executive, Andrea Williams. “We want to give him every chance of life.” [4]

The GoFundMe for Archie has reached over £19,000 so far. The money will be put to “Archie’s family peace of mind for better medical support, further testing, better conditions, and a more positive outcome than we are currently being offered.”

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

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Sources

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  1. “Archie Battersbee: Mother vows to fight to keep son alive for longer.” BBC. May 19, 2022
  2. “Judge set to decide whether doctors can stop treating Archie Battersbee.Evening Standard. Brian Farmer. May 19, 2022
  3. “Mum of ‘brain dead’ 12-year-old refusing to turn off life support: ‘Waiting for a miracle’.Yahoo News. Andy Wells. May 12, 2022
  4. “Mother urges judge to give her 12-year-old son ‘more time’ as ruling is due today on doctors’ bid to test boy’s brain stem before turning off his life support.Daily Mail. Dan Sales. May 13, 2022
Sarah Biren
Freelance Writer
Sarah is a baker, cook, author, and blogger living in Toronto. She believes that food is the best method of healing and a classic way of bringing people together. In her spare time, Sarah does yoga, reads cookbooks, writes stories, and finds ways to make any type of food in her blender.
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