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Boy, 12, who doctors think is brain-dead should be tested to establish state, judge rules
13 May 2022, 19:32 | Updated: 14 May 2022, 00:27
A judge has backed testing to determine whether a 12-year-old boy who suffered "catastrophic" brain damage in an incident at home is brain-dead, despite his mother begging for "more time".
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Mrs Justice Arbuthnot concluded that a brain-stem test would be in Archie Battersbee's best interests, at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London on Friday.
Specialists treating 12-year-old Archie, of Southend, Essex, think it is "highly likely" the youngster is dead, and say life-support treatment should stop.
Bosses at the hospital's governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, asked the judge to rule that a brain-stem test would be in Archie's best interests.
A specialist told the judge that the brain stem was responsible for the functions which kept people alive.
Archie's mother Hollie Dance, 46, has begged for "more time" for her gymnastic-loving son.
"Everyone is in such a rush," she said.
"I'm asking the judge to just give him more time - give him time to fight back."
She added: "It's only been five weeks - it took me longer to get over the flu. What's the rush?"
Ms Dance has told how she found Archie with a ligature over his head on April 7, and thinks he might have been taking part in an online challenge.
She and Archie's father, Paul Battersbee, 56, who are separated, have concerns about doctors' proposals and want treatment to continue.
They questioned the reliability of the test, feared that it could cause more damage and asked why Archie, who lives with his mother, was not receiving treatment to relieve swelling on his brain.
"The family as well as the clinicians need to know the results of this test," said Mrs Justice Arbuthnot, in her ruling on Friday.
"I understand on a human level the family's anguish.
"Anyone can appreciate how much they must dread the result."
Barrister Bruno Quintavalle, who represented Archie's family, told the judge: "The family will need some time to reflect on things."
Ms Dance, who wept as the ruling was delivered, and Mr Battersbee left the hearing without commenting to reporters.
Ms Dance later said: "I am trying to be there for my little boy while also fighting a legal battle, it is so difficult and unfair.
"Archie had a severe brain injury only four weeks ago, 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.
"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."
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.