Parents of Archie Battersbee are given the go-ahead to take case to Court of Appeal after High Court judge said 12-year-old was ‘brain dead’ and life support should be switched off
- Hollie Dance, 46, wants the Court of Appeal judges to consider Archie’s case
- She said he ‘will wake up’ but ‘just needs more time’ and is ‘responding to smell’
- Archie Battersbee has not regained consciousness since incident at Essex home
- He was found unresponsive with a ligature around his neck and has been in coma
The parents of a 12-year-old boy at the centre of a life-support treatment dispute have been given the go-ahead to take the case to the Court of Appeal after a High Court judge concluded that the youngster was dead.
Mrs Justice Arbuthnot recently ruled that doctors could lawfully stop providing treatment to Archie Battersbee after considering evidence at a trial in the Family Division of the High Court in London.
Archie’s parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, from Southend, Essex, want Court of Appeal judges to consider the case.
Mrs Justice Arbuthnot on Monday gave Ms Dance and Mr Battersbee permission to take the case to the Court of Appeal.
It comes after Archie’s mother said her son will wake up and is ‘responding to music and smell’ as she appealed the High Court ruling today.
Hollie, 46, and Archie’s father Paul, 56, want Court of Appeal judges to consider their case as they believe, if his treatment is given more time, his condition could improve.
Ms Dance said the youngster had ‘responded to music and smell’ after lavender oil was placed under his nose, which has given his family a ‘glimmer of hope’.
She said: ‘His blood pressure went up, so we put on a deep-breathing meditation recording and put lavender oil under his nose and within 10 minutes his blood pressure dropped to normal levels.’
Speaking to The Mirror, she added: ‘It’s a glimmer of hope. He’s in there and he’s going to wake up, he just needs time. All I want is for them to give him time to heal.’
The brain-damaged schoolboy has been at the centre of a High Court dispute after doctors treating him at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, London, said they believed he was brain dead and his ventilator should be disconnected.
Archie has been in a coma since he was found unresponsive with a ligature around his neck at his home in Southend, Essex, on April 7.
Ms Dance believes her son, a talented gymnast, choked while taking part in a viral social media trend known as the ‘blackout challenge’ that first began circulating online 14 years ago. The youngster has not regained consciousness since.
On the eve of the decision, she issued a last-gasp appeal to the High Court judge to ‘find it in your heart to give my son the time to heal’.
Lawyers representing the Royal London Hospital’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, asked Mrs Justice Arbuthnot to decide what moves are in Archie’s best interests.
But in her ruling last Monday, Mrs Justice Arbuthnot said: ‘I find that Archie died at noon on May 31 2022, which was shortly after the MRI scans taken that day,’ said the judge in a written ruling.
The parents of Archie Battersbee at the centre of a life-support treatment dispute are preparing to launch an appeal bid today after a High Court judge ruled the 12-year-old was ‘likely’ to be ‘brain stem dead’. Pictured: Archie’s mother, Hollie Dance
The brain-damaged schoolboy has been at the centre of a High Court dispute after doctors treating him at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, London, said they believed he was brain dead and his ventilator should be disconnected
Ms Dance said the youngster had ‘responded to music and smell’ after lavender oil was placed under his nose, which has given relatives a ‘glimmer of hope’
Ms Dance believes her son, a talented gymnast, choked while taking part in a viral social media trend known as the ‘blackout challenge’ that first began circulating online 14 years ago. The youngster has not regained consciousness since
April 7 – Archie is found unresponsive at his home in Southend, with a ligature around his neck.
May 5 – The Royal London Hospital, which is treating Archie, asked a judge to decide what was is in his best interests because medics believed he was braindead.
May 13 – The judge calls for Archie to have a brain stem test after a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London on Friday.
June 1 – Judge Arbuthnot visits Archie in hospital to see for herself his condition and treatment.
June 7 – High Court hearing to work out what should happen is told parts of Archie’s brain are dead.
June 8 – A medical specialist tells judge Mrs Justice Arbuthnot tests showed no ‘discernible’ brain activity’.
June 13 – The judge rules Archie is ‘likely’ brain dead and life support should stop. His family say they will appeal the ruling in a ‘legally complex’ process that could take months to conclude.
‘I find that irreversible cessation of brain stem function has been conclusively established.
‘I give permission to the medical professionals at the Royal London Hospital to cease to ventilate mechanically Archie Battersbee.’
Ms Dance and Mr Battersbee, who are separated, asked Mrs Justice Arbuthnot at a High Court hearing on Monday to give them permission to mount an appeal.
They must establish that have an arguable or compelling case before a full appeal hearing can be staged.
A barrister leading their legal team argued that evidence had not shown ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ that Archie is dead.
Edward Devereux QC said the decision had been made on a balance of probabilities.
He argued that a decision of such ‘gravity’ should have been made on a ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ basis.
A spokesman for campaign organisation the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting Archie’s family, said relatives will use a follow-up High Court hearing to ask Mrs Justice Arbuthnot to give them the go-ahead to mount an appeal.
Relatives must establish they have an arguable case before a full appeal hearing can be staged.
Arguments would be heard by the Court of Appeal, which has the power to dismiss the appeal, but if given the green light, the case could be heard at the Supreme Court – the final appeal court for civil cases in the UK.
Ms Dance said last week she would ‘not give up’ her ongoing fight for her son and said the High Court ruling ‘was on only the start’.
She said: ‘I am devastated and extremely disappointed by the judge’s ruling after weeks of fighting a legal battle, when I wanted to be by my little boy’s bedside.
‘Basing a judgement on an MRI test and is ‘likely’ to be dead is not good enough. I feel sickened at the hospital and the judge have failed to put the wishes of the family into consideration.
‘I do not believe Archie has been given enough time. His heart is still beating he has gripped his hand and as his mother and my gut instincts I know my son is still there.
‘Until it’s God’s way I wont accept he should go. I know of miracles when people have come back from being braindead.
‘We do intend on appealing, this is only the start, I will not give up my fight for my son.’
At the time of the ruling, Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, said: ‘This ruling is a devastating moment for Archie and his family.
‘The idea that death can be declared on the balance of probability is frankly ludicrous.
Archie Battersbee’s mother, Hollie Dance, (centre-right) speaking outside the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, after the High Court judgement last week on the future of the 12-year-old boy
Archie Battersbee’s brother Tom Summers kisses him on the head in hospital as he visited him on Wednesday
Hollie Dance, 46, (right) has begged a High Court judge to allow Archie Battersbee’s life support treatment to continue after he choked while reportedly performing an online ‘blackout’ craze
‘Life is the most precious gift that we have. This ruling sets a troubling and dark precedent.
‘This case has raised significant moral, legal and medical questions as to when a person is dead.
‘Archie’s parents do not accept that he is dead and are fighting courageously for his life.
They will not give up now and intend to appeal. We will continue to stand with the family and continue to pray for a miracle.’
Alistair Chesser, the chief medical officer at Barts Health NHS Trust, expressed sympathies for Archie’s family today, adding that the hospital will give them time to appeal.
Speaking outside the Royal London Hospital, Mr Chesser said: ‘This is a sad and difficult time for Archie’s family and our thoughts and sympathies are with them as they come to terms with what has happened.
‘In line with the guidance issued by the court, our expert clinicians will provide the best possible care while life support is withdrawn.
‘We are also ensuring that there is time for the family to decide whether they wish to appeal before any changes to care are made.’
Archie, pictured wearing a medal and holding a trophy, was a talented gymnast. His mother believes he was taking part in a viral social media challenge when he was found injured
The family were represented in court by lawyer Bruno Quintavalle and consultant Pavel Stroilov, who worked on the Alfie Evans case. The family of Alfie, a 23-month old boy, lost a High Court life support dispute after Alder Hey Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust argued that it was not in his ‘best interests’ to continue treatment.
His family wanted his treatment to continue in Italy, but a High Court judge ruled against them, before the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court dismissed their appeals. He died in April 2018.
Ms Dance has said fighting for her son’s treatment to continue has been ‘agonising’, adding that there are ‘a lot of kids being sentenced to death’ by decisions made at the Royal London Hospital where he is on life support.
Also speaking with journalists outside the hospital in Whitechapel, east London, she said: ‘I’m not the only one going through this.
‘There’s people up there (in the hospital) at the moment who have been told on day three that their child is brain dead.
‘There’s a lot of kids being sentenced to death through this hospital. This is not just for Archie now, it’s for the other children as well.’
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