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Evening Standard

Archie Battersbee: Mother of brain-damaged boy ‘broken’ but ‘isn’t giving up’ after judge tells doctors to test whether he is dead

Specialists will next week carry out a test to try to establish whether a 12-year-old boy at the centre of a life-support treatment dispute is dead (Hollie Dance/PA) (Picture: PA Wire)

The mother of a brain-damaged boy at the centre of a life-support treatment dispute has said she is “broken” but is “not giving up” after the High Court ruled doctors must carry out a test to try to establish whether he is dead.

A judge concluded late on Friday that a brain-stem test would be in Archie Battersbee’s best interests after a doctor told her that the brain stem was responsible for the functions which kept people alive.

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot was told that specialists treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, thought it “highly likely” the youngster was dead.

A spokeswoman for the hospital’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, said, after the private hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London, that a brain-stem test would be arranged for next week.

(PA Wire)

Hollie Dance, who wept as Mrs Justice Arbuthnot delivered her ruling, has told how she found her son Archie with a ligature over his head, on April 7, and thinks he might have been taking part in an online challenge.

In a Facebook post on Saturday, Miss Dance said Archie was “stable”. “Sorry I’ve been a bit distant,” she wrote. “Feeling broken but I’m not giving up . Arch is stable this morning.”

Following Friday night’s ruling, Miss Dance earlier said: “There’s not been enough time to see what he can do.

“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.”

She added: “Until it’s God’s way I won’t accept he should go.

(PA Wire)

“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.”

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot, who heard that Archie had suffered “catastrophic” brain damage, said Archie’s family, and clinicians, needed to know the results of the brain-stem test.

“I understand on a human level the family’s anguish,” she said.

“Anyone can appreciate how much they must dread the result.”

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot oversaw a private hearing but said Archie could be named in media reports of the case.

A campaign organisation called the Christian Legal Centre said it is supporting Archie’s family.