Archie Battersbee's mother demands meeting with Health Secretary

‘We must ensure no other family ever goes through this again’: Archie Battersbee’s mother demands meeting with Health Secretary Stephen Barclay after brain-damaged 12-year-old’s life support was switched off following High Court battle

  • A judge ruled in July that doctors could stop treating brain-damaged Archie  
  • Hollie Dance is campaigning for an inquiry into the ‘operation of this system’
  • In a letter she said she wanted to make sure no one else ‘has to go through this’ 
  • The 12-year-old boy had his life support withdrawn earlier this month  

Archie Battersbee’s grieving mother has requested to meet with Health Secretary Stephen Barclay to open a ‘public inquiry’ into the tragic case and to campaign for major law changes to ‘ensure that no other family has to go through this’. 

Hollie Dance’s brain-damaged 12-year-old son had his life support withdrawn earlier this month after a heartrending moths-long High Court battle to eep the tragic boy alive. 

In her letter to Boris Johnson’s new Health Secretary, Ms Dance says that ‘similar cases’ are subject to ‘severe reporting restrictions’ and ‘therefore away from public scrutiny’.

A High Court judge ruled last month that doctors could lawfully stop providing life-support treatment for Archie, who suffered brain damage after taking part in what his family believe was a TikTok game gone wrong at his home in Southend, Essex in April. 

Archie’s doctors said the young boy was ‘brain-stem dead’ with little hope of recovery after he was found unconscious in his home 

Hollie Dance at a vigil at Priory Park in Southend-on-Sea, in memory of her son Archie Battersbee who died in hospital after weeks of legal battles

Ms Dance and Archie’s father Paul Battersbee, who are separated, are being supported by a campaign organisation called the Christian Legal Centre, who released the letter to Mr Barclay on Friday. 

In the letter, Ms Dance said: ‘I would like to meet with you … to discuss how we can work together to ensure that no other family has to go through this.

Archie’s mother has written to Health Secretary Stephen Barclay (pictured) campaigning for a major investigation and law changes following her son’s death

‘Archie’s case has had a lot of publicity, but I know that many similar cases are heard in the Family Division subject to severe reporting restrictions, and therefore away from public scrutiny.

‘There should be a comprehensive public inquiry into the operation of this system; and then a change of the law to protect the grieving families from cruelty.’ 

Ms Dance had earlier said she felt ‘backed into a corner’ by the legal system and said her family felt ‘stripped’ of rights.

Judges heard how Ms Dance found Archie unconscious with a ligature over his head on April 7, and she thinks he might have been taking part in an online challenge. 

Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, thought that he was brain-stem dead and said continued life-support treatment was not in his best interests.

Bosses at the hospital’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, had asked for decisions on what medical moves were in Archie’s best interests.

A High Court judge, Mrs Justice Arbuthnot, initially considered the case and concluded that Archie was dead.

But Court of Appeal judges upheld a challenge by his parents against decisions taken by Mrs Justice Arbuthnot and said the evidence should be reviewed by a different High Court judge, Mr Justice Hayden.

Archie’s parents underwent a lengthy court battle to keep his life support swiched on

He ruled that ending treatment would be in Archie’s best interests after a further hearing.

Archie died on August 6 in the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, after weeks of legal wrangling.

Health department officials indicated that Ms Dance would get a response to her letter soon.

Ministers have already said they will commission a review into the causes of disagreement in the care of critically-ill children.

Mr Justice Hayden is currently overseeing another life-support treatment dispute.

Two Syrian refugees want him to rule that their seriously-ill six-year-old daughter should continue to receive life support treatment.

Specialists have told Mr Justice Hayden that the girl is suffering from a rare and incurable neurological condition, and dying.

They say she should be moved to a palliative care regime. Her parents, who left Syria eight years ago and claimed political asylum in Britain, disagree and want her to receive ‘long-term ventilation’.

The judge has ruled that the girl – who is in the care of a hospital trust in Birmingham – cannot be identified in media reports of the case.

He was told the girl’s parents did not want her to be named in reports.

Mr Justice Hayden began hearing evidence earlier this week at a trial in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

The hearing is due to end next week. 

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