Archie Battersbee: Judge backs evidence to establish if 12-year-old boy is dead | uk news

Specialists should use a brainstem test to try to establish whether a 12-year-old boy who has not regained consciousness since suffering “catastrophic” brain damage is dead, a superior court judge ruled.

Judge Arbuthnot concluded that the trial would be in Archie Battersbee’s best interest at a hearing in the family division of London’s high court on Friday.

Specialists treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, believe it is “highly likely” the young man is dead and say life-sustaining treatment should end.

The heads of the hospital’s governing trust, the Barts Health NHS trust, asked the judge to rule that a brainstem test would be in Archie’s best interest. A specialist told the judge that the brainstem was responsible for the functions that keep people alive.

Archie’s parents, Hollie Dance, 46, and Paul Battersbee, 56, who are separated and both from Southend, Essex, are concerned about the doctors’ proposals and want him to continue treatment.

They questioned the reliability of the test, fearing it could cause more harm, and asked why Archie, who lives with his mother, was not receiving treatment to ease the swelling in his brain.

Dance has recounted how she found Archie in a ligature to his head after an incident at his home on April 7, and believes he may have been participating in an online challenge.

She had urged the judge to give her son, a great gymnast, “more time”. “Everyone is in such a hurry,” she told the PA news agency. “I am asking the judge to give him more time, to give him time to defend himself.

“It’s only been five weeks; It took me longer to get over the flu. What’s the rush?”

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

A campaign organization called the Christian Legal Center said it was supporting Archie’s family. Andrea Williams, its executive director, said after the ruling: “This case raises the important moral, legal and medical question of when a person is dead.

“Archie’s parents do not accept that he is dead and are fighting for his life.”

A Barts Health NHS trust spokesperson said: “This is an incredibly sad situation and our thoughts and condolences are with Archie and his family at this time.

“Following the decision that brainstem testing is in Archie’s best interest, we will now take steps to arrange testing for next week as directed by the court.”

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