Archie, 12, was found unresponsive at his home two months ago and his mother believes he may have been trying to complete an online challenge
Parts of the brain of a 12-year-old boy at the center of a dispute over life-sustaining treatment have died and decayed, a specialist said Supreme Court Judge.
Archie Battersbee has now been in a coma at home for two months after a “freak accident”.
Archies parentsHollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, from Southend in Essex, have asked Ms Justice Arbuthnot for more time with their son, but doctors say they believe his life support treatment should be ended.
The judge has now been asked by solicitors representing Barts Health, the trust of the Royal London Hospital, to decide what happens next and what is in Archie’s best interests NHS Confidence that offers Archies caring.
So what happened to Archie Battersbee, what did doctors and his parents say, and when will the judge render his verdict?
Here’s everything you need to know.
What happened to Archie Battersbee?
Archie was found unconscious at home by Ms Dance on April 7.
The boy was found with a ligature on his head, with his mother believing he may have attempted to compete in an online challenge.
Archie has not regained consciousness in the two months since the accident and has been in a coma since his discovery.
What did the doctors say?
A specialist, whose name cannot be released, explained to the judge how tests showed that the lower part of Archie Battersbee’s brainstem was severely damaged and the upper part was also damaged.
He said Archie’s prognosis was “very serious” and told the judge the youth’s chances of recovery were “very slim”.
He explained the results of the recent brain and spine scans to the judge on Monday, June 6.
He said there had been no improvement since previous scans were taken in mid-April, but instead there were signs of deterioration.
He added: “[The scans] show much more noticeable and worse damage in very critical areas.”
Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, believe his life support should be ended.
Solicitor Fiona Paterson, who heads the Barts Health NHS Trust legal team, asked the specialist if scans showed parts of Archie’s brain and spinal cord had died and were decaying.
And he told Ms Justice Arbuthnot: “The chance of recovery is very slim.
“I think Archie suffered such severe brain damage that it’s unlikely to come back.”
Ms Paterson had previously told the judge: “The scans, once interpreted, paint a picture that can be very difficult to stomach.”
What did Archie’s parents say?
Attorney Bruno Quintavalle, who leads Archie’s family legal team, told the judge that Archie’s heart is still beating.
He also said it was debatable whether “the correct procedure” had been followed and whether the “views of the family” had been taken into account.
Speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Ms Dance said she had been by her son’s bedside during his treatment and believed she had seen signs he might be recovering.
She said: “I don’t think I’m just deluding myself. I’m completely honest.
“What I do know is that as a mother, my gut tells me that my little boy is in there and I will keep fighting for him.”
She added, “I’m asking the judge to give him time.”
She said Archie squeezed her hand in his hospital bed and it was a sign that gave her hope.
She said: “Of course he doesn’t jump up and box and scream and do his gymnastics from the bed. I don’t expect that.
“But the fact that he’s doing these little things [like squeezing her my hand] is progress.”
When is the verdict?
Ms Justice Arbuthnot is overseeing a final hearing due to end on Wednesday June 8 at the Family Division of the High Court in London.
She had decided at a recent hearing that Archie should undergo further scans before making a decision and also visited him in hospital earlier this week.