Results of scans on boy with brain damage may be ‘hard to bear’, judge told

Doctors treating Archie Battersbee think it ‘highly likely’ he is dead and say life support should end, but his parents disagree.

06 June 2022

Tests on a 12-year-old boy who has suffered brain damage and is at the centre of a life-support treatment dispute paint a picture which may be “very hard to bear”, a lawyer representing hospital bosses has told a High Court judge.

Doctors treating Archie Battersbee 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.

Lawyers representing the Royal London Hospital’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, have asked Mrs Justice Arbuthnot to decide what moves are in Archie’s best interests.

The judge is overseeing a final hearing – due to end on Wednesday – in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

She had ruled at a recent hearing that Archie should undergo further scans before she made decisions.

Barrister Fiona Paterson, who is leading Barts Health NHS Trust’s legal team, indicated on Monday that further scans had been carried out.

“The scans, once they are interpreted, paint a picture that may be very hard to bear,” she told Mrs Justice Arbuthnot.

“(A doctor has said) that very sadly Archie’s digestive system is no longer absorbing nourishment properly as a result of his brain injury.”

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot has heard that Archie suffered brain damage in an incident at home in early April.

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

The youngster has not regained consciousness.

One specialist had told the judge at an earlier hearing how he thought scans showed that Archie had suffered “irretrievable” brain damage.

Two others said they thought tests showed that the youngster was “brain-stem dead”.

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