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A mother today said her brain-damaged son is ‘stable’ and vowed not to give up after a judge told doctors bidding to turn off the 12-year-old’s life support that they can test him for brain death.
Archie Battersbee, 12, a keen gymnast, has not regained consciousness since suffering ‘catastrophic’ brain damage in an incident at home in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, more than a month ago, when he was found unresponsive with a ligature around his neck.
Specialists at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, think it ‘highly likely’ the youngster is dead and say life-support treatment should end.
But a High Court judge ruled on Friday that a brain-stem test to determine whether or not he is actually brain-dead would be in his best interest.
Writing on Facebook earlier today, his mother Hollie Dance said: ‘Sorry I’ve been a bit distant. Feeling broken but I’m not giving up.
‘Arch is stable this morning although the machines going a bit berserk not sure why. I’m going to do a live prayer tomorrow and hopefully video Arch for you all to help heal him.’
Archie Battersbee (pictured with his mother Hollie Dance), 12, a keen gymnast, has not regained consciousness since suffering ‘catastrophic’ brain damage in an incident at home in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, more than a month ago
Specialists at the Royal London Hospital think it ‘highly likely’ the youngster is dead and say life-support treatment should end. But a High Court judge ruled on Friday that a brain-stem test to determine whether or not he is actually brain-dead would be in his best interest
Writing on Facebook today, Ms Dance said: ‘Feeling broken but I’m not giving up’, adding that Archie is ‘stable this morning’
Speaking after the ruling yesterday, Ms Dance also 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.’
She added: ‘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.’
Bosses at the hospital’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, asked Mrs Justice Arbuthnot 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.
But Archie’s parents, Ms Dance and Paul Battersbee, 56, who are separated and both from Southend, Essex, have concerns about doctors’ proposals and want treatment to continue.
His parents, Ms Dance (above) and Paul Battersbee, have insisted on more time before switching off Archie’s life support
Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital believe that he is brain-stem dead but his parents Ms Dance and Paul Battersbee oppose switching off his life support treatment
They questioned the reliability of the test and fear it could cause more damage.
They also asked why Archie, who lives with his mother, was not receiving treatment to relieve swelling on his brain.
Miss 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 had urged the judge to give her son ‘more time’.
‘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?’
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.
Archie’s sister Lauren set up an Instagram page ‘Spread the purple wave’ with regular updates on his condition
Fiona Paterson, for Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, told the judge the ‘priority’ is a decision on whether Archie should have the brain-stem test
‘We are standing with Archie and his family every step of the way,’ said the centre’s chief executive, Andrea Williams.
‘We want to give him every chance of life.’
Archie was found unresponsive at home with a ligature around his neck on April 7 and has not awoken since.
Archie’s brother Tom, 22 and sister Lauren, 20 come every day to visit him and try to get him to respond. His family talks to him and plays his favourite song, Lucid Dreams by Juice WRLD, along with voice notes from his friends.
Archie’s sister Lauren set up an Instagram page ‘Spread the purple wave’ with regular updates on Archie’s condition.
Miss Dance has speculated that Archie may have been taking part in a ‘online challenge’ when he was hurt.
A Barts Health NHS Trust spokesperson said: ‘This is an incredibly sad situation and our thoughts and sympathies are with Archie and his family at this time.
‘Following the decision that brain stem testing is in Archie’s best interests, we will now take steps to arrange the testing to take place next week as directed by the court.’