Judge rules doctors should test whether 12-year-old boy with brain damage is dead

A 12-year-old boy who suffered “catastrophic” brain damage will be examined by specialists next week for tests to try and establish if he is dead.

A High Court judge concluded late on Friday that a brain-stem test would be in Archie Battersbee’s best interests. She had been told by 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, who is currently at the centre of a life-support treatment dispute, thought it “highly likely” the youngster was dead. He is being treated at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London.

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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. Hollie Dance thinks he might have been taking part in an online challenge before she found her son with a ligature over his head, on April 7.

She wept as Mrs Justice Arbuthnot delivered her ruling. Afterwards, Miss Dance said: “There’s not been enough time to see what he can do. He has squeezed my fingers with a tight grip.



Specialists will next week carry out a test to try to establish if he is braindead
Specialists will next week carry out a test to try to establish if Archie is dead

“I think that’s his way of letting me know he’s still here and just needs more time. 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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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.

She said: “I understand on a human level the family’s anguish. 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.