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Judges considering parents’ appeal over treatment for brain-damaged son

A judge on Friday said there was a bleak picture for Archie Battersbee.

21 July 2022

Three Court of Appeal judges are considering the latest stage of a life-support treatment fight centred on a 12-year-old boy who suffered “catastrophic” brain damage in an accident at home three months ago.

Archie Battersbee’s parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, of Southend, Essex, have mounted an appeal bid after a High Court judge ruled that doctors could lawfully stop treatment.

Sir Andrew McFarlane, the president of the Family Division of the High Court and the most senior family court judge in England and Wales, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Peter Jackson began considering arguments at a Court of Appeal hearing in London on Thursday.

Mr Justice Hayden delivered a ruling on Friday after reviewing evidence at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

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

But he said medical evidence was “compelling and unanimous” and painted a “bleak” picture.

Archie Battersbee court case
Hollie Dance (Brian Farmer/PA)

Edward Devereux QC argued at Thursday’s appeal hearing that Mr Justice Hayden had not given “real or proper weight” to Archie’s previously expressed wishes and religious beliefs; not given “real or proper weight” to Archie’s family’s wishes; failed to carry out a “comprehensive evaluation” of the benefits and burdens of continuing life-support treatment; and had been wrong to conclude that treatment was burdensome and futile.

Judges have heard how Ms Dance found Archie unconscious with a ligature over his head on April 7.

She thinks he may have been taking part in an online challenge.

The youngster has not regained consciousness.

Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, think he is “brain-stem dead” and say continued life support treatment is not in his best interests, his parents disagree.

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

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