Family of boy at centre of treatment fight want judge to visit him in hospital

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot is due to make a decision about whether doctors should stop treating Archie Battersbee, 12, after a hearing on June 6 and 7.

25 May 2022

Relatives of a 12-year-old boy at the centre of a High Court life-support treatment dispute want a judge to visit him in hospital before making a decision about his future.

Archie Battersbee suffered “devastating” brain damage in an incident at his home, and Mrs Justice Arbuthnot is scheduled to decide whether doctors should continue treating him after overseeing a final hearing on June 6 and 7.

A barrister representing hospital bosses responsible for Archie’s care told the judge at a preliminary hearing on Wednesday that the youngster’s family wanted her to see him.

Archie Battersbee court case
Archie Battersbee in hospital (Hollie Dance/PA)

Specialists treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, think it “highly likely” he is dead and say life-support treatment should end.

Archie’s parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, from Southend, Essex, disagree.

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

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot, who is considering the case at private hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London, has been told the youngster has not regained consciousness.

Hollie Dance, the mother of Archie Battersbee
Hollie Dance (James Manning/PA)

Fiona Paterson, who leads the legal team representing the Royal London Hospital’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, told the judge that Archie’s family wanted her to visit.

But she said it is “imperative” that the final hearing happens as planned.

“Whether Archie is still alive or not, it is imperative that this hearing goes ahead,” she said.

“If Archie is no longer with us, there is the issue of dignity.

“The more it is put off, the more his dignity is potentially compromised.”

She said specialists took the view that Archie had been “extensively investigated”, but were prepared to carry out further tests for “the sake of no stone being left unturned”.

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