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Archie Battersbee's mum 'on top of the world' as judge told to rethink life support ruling

29 June 2022, 16:23 | Updated: 29 June 2022, 17:54

A judge will re-examine if Archie should have his life support treatment ended
A judge will re-examine if Archie should have his life support treatment ended. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

The mother of Archie Battersbee has spoken of her delight after winning a Court of Appeal case, after a judge previously concluded her 12-year-old boy had died and his treatment should stop.

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Three appeal judges said on Wednesday that evidence over what is in the boy's best interests should be reconsidered by a different High Court judge.

Hollie Dance, his mother, told LBC's Eddie Mair: "[I'm] on top of the world - Archie lives.

"Just to have the judges… say that this is about Archie and that’s the first time I’ve heard that, this is solely about Archie, well we just welled up with tears."

She said Archie is doing well and gaining weight, is responsive at bath time and "going in the right direction".

"With a bit of time, hopefully he will regain consciousness," she said.

Dad Paul Battersbee said earlier: "Delighted. It couldn't really have gone any better today."

Lawyers for Ms Dance and Mr Battersbee said Mrs Justice Arbuthnot made errors when she ruled that doctors could lawfully stop providing treatment to him.

Edward Devereux QC said the case should go to to the High Court again to let a judge carry out a fuller analysis of whether it was in Archie's best interest for his life sustaining treatment to keep going.

Read more: Mum of Archie Battersbee, 12, vows to fight on after judge rules life support should end

Doctors at the Royal London Hospital in east London, where Archie is being treated, said they think the boy is "brain-stem dead" and he should be disconnected from a ventilator.

Archie suffered brain damage during an incident in early April, when Ms Dance found him with a ligature over his head. She thinks he may have tried to take part in an online challenge.

Archie has never regained consciousness.

Archie never regained consciousness after an incident in early April
Archie never regained consciousness after an incident in early April. Picture: Alamy

Lawyers for Barts Health NHS Trust, which governs the hospital, asked the High Court to rule on his best interests.

Archie's parents want his treatment to continue and say his heart is still beating.

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot concluded Archie is dead and that his treatment should stop, but Mr Devereux said the evidence had not shown he was dead "beyond reasonable doubt", and that judges should not base a decision based on the balance of probabilities.

He said Mrs Justice Abruthnot had not carried out "gold standard analysis" which should be applied in "matters of life and death".

The case will be heard next month, appeal judges Sir Geoffrey Vos, Sir Andrew McFarlane, and Lady Justice King said.

Hollie Dance said her son is still alive
Hollie Dance said her son is still alive. Picture: Alamy

Ms Dance said: "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.

"Basing this judgment on an MRI test 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 based on 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.

"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 'why the rush?'

"His heart is still beating, he has gripped my hand, and as his mother, 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.

"This case raises the significant moral, legal and medical questions as to when a person is dead.

"What does this ruling today tell us about where our society is at? We intend to appeal and will not give up on Archie."

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