Archie Battersbee: what happened to him?

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Archie Battersbee’s parents are preparing for the next stage of a legal battle – after a High Court judge said doctors can stop giving life support.

Archie Battersbee’s mother, Hollie Dance, says she and the boy’s father, Paul Battersbee, will ask the Court of Appeal judges to overturn Mr Justice Hayden’s decision later this week.

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Ms Dance, 46, said Tuesday appeals judges are listed to consider Archie’s case at a hearing at the Court of Appeal in London on Thursday.

Doctors treating Archie Battersbee have said since May continued treatment is not in his best interests and should be ended.

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A High Court judge is preparing to make decisions about the future of 12-year-old boy Archie Battersbee, who is at the center of a dispute over life-sustaining treatments.

Ms Justice Arbuthnot issued a decision on June 13 that meant doctors could lawfully stop treating Archie Battersbee – against the will of his parents.

Mr Justice Hayden is now the second High Court judge to rule that Archie’s treatment should be ended.

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So what happened to Archie Battersbee, what did doctors and his parents say, what did the judge say when she announced her verdict, and what’s happening now that the appeal was allowed?

Here’s everything you need to know.

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What happened to Archie Battersbee?

Archie was found unconscious at home by Ms Dance on April 7.

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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?

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Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, said they felt his life support treatment should be ended.

The Governing Trust of the Royal London Hospital, Barts Health NHS Trust, who is taking care of Archie, had asked the judge to make the decision.

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A specialist, whose name cannot be released, previously told the judge how tests showed that the lower part of Archie Battersbee’s brainstem was severely damaged and the upper part also damaged.

He said Archie’s prognosis was “very serious” and told the judge the youth’s chances of recovery were “very slim”.

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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.

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He added: “[The scans] show much more noticeable and worse damage in very critical areas.”

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.

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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.”

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Ms Paterson had previously told the judge: “The scans, once interpreted, paint a picture that can be very difficult to stomach.”

Barrister Bruno Quintavalle, who heads Archie’s family’s legal team, previously told the judge that Archie’s heart was still beating.

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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.

Hollie Dance speaks outside the Royal London Hospital.

What did Archie’s parents say?

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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.

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“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.”

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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.

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“But the fact that he’s doing these little things [like squeezing her my hand] is progress.”

On July 11, Miss Dance told Mr Justice Hayden that she was “100%” sure Archie would want treatment to continue.

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“I think we come into this world naturally,” she told the judge. “Let nature take its course.”

She added, “If it’s God’s will and Archie wants to give up, then let nature take its course.”

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Ms Dance said Archie is a “natural born fighter”.

“If Archie gives up fighting his illness and dies, I can accept that,” she said. “But if we turn off the ventilator knowing Archie is going to die, I can’t agree to that.”

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She said: “This little boy I think is struggling. He can’t speak, he’s unconscious. i am his voice I will fight for him until Archie decides I can stop fighting.”

Archie’s father Paul Battersbee, who also lives in Southend but is separated from Ms Dance, told Mr Justice Hayden that Archie “wouldn’t want to leave” his mother.

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“I think he should stay a little longer,” he said.

“I’m not looking at it through rose-colored glasses, but it’s only been 12 or 13 weeks and the doctors got it wrong once before.”

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He added, “The most important thing for me is to know that he walked God’s way.”

What did the judges say?

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Mr Judge Hayden, reviewing evidence at a hearing in the High Court’s Family Division, concluded that ending treatment on Friday July 15 was in Archie’s best interests.

He described what happened to Archie as a “tragedy of immeasurable proportions”.

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He added: “Unfortunately, there is no treatment that can reverse the damage done to Archie’s brain. There can be no hope of recovery at all.”

The judge said he came to his conclusions with “deep regret”.

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In a written decision issued Monday, June 13, the judge said: “I find out that Archie died at noon on May 31, 2022, shortly after the MRI scans taken that day.

“I find that irreversible cessation of brainstem function has been conclusively demonstrated.

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“I authorize the medical professionals at the Royal London Hospital to stop mechanical ventilation for Archie Battersbee.”

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