Archie Battersbee is ‘unresponsive’ and will not recover from brain damage three months ago, a barrister representing hospital bosses has told a High Court judge.
Martin Westgate QC told Mr Justice Hayden on Monday the 12-year-old suffered a ‘devastating’ brain injury during an incident at home in April and specialists do not think it is in his best interests for treatment to continue.
The judge is overseeing the latest in a series of hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London.
He is reviewing evidence after another High Court judge had earlier ruled that Archie was dead.
Archie’s parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, from Southend, Essex, are hoping he will rule that doctors should continue providing treatment.
Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, have told judges that they think Archie is ‘brain-stem dead’.
They say treatment should end and Archie should be disconnected from a ventilator.
Archie’s parents hope he will recover.
Doctors say 12-year-old Archie Battersbee (pictured) is ‘brain-stem dead’ and want to stop treating him, but his parents want them to keep going
Archie’s parents Hollie Dance (left) and Paul Battersbee address the media outside the Royal Courts of Justice an earlier hearing. The pair said ‘it couldn’t really have gone any better’
Archie Battersbee, 12, of Southend-on-Sea, Essex, was found with a ligature around his neck on April 7 and never regained consciousness. Doctors at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, believe he is ‘brain-stem dead’ but his parents are fighting to keep his mechanical ventilation
Lawyers representing the Royal London Hospital’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, have asked Mr. Justice Hayden to decide what moves are in Archie’s best interests.
‘He is not responsive and has no prospect of recovery,’ Mr. Westgate, who is leading the trust’s legal team, told Mr. Justice Hayden on Monday.
‘The trust has come to the conclusion that continuing treatment is no longer in his best interests.’
Trust bosses had originally asked Mrs. Justice Arbuthnot to decide what moves were in Archie’s best interests.
She had concluded that Archie was dead and ruled that doctors could lawfully stop providing treatment.
Archie’s parents challenged Mrs. Justice Arbuthnot’s decisions in the Court of Appeal.
Three appeal judges upheld their challenge and ruled that evidence relating to what was in Archie’s best interests should be reconsidered by a different High Court judge.
A barrister representing Ms. Dance and Mr. Battersbee had argued, in the appeal court, that Mrs. Justice Arbuthnot had made mistakes.
Archie’s mother Hollie Dance, 46, insists her son ‘is still in there’ and has vowed to keep fighting for treatment to continue. Here she is pictured outside the Court of Appeal
Hollie Dance said she would ‘not give up’ her ongoing fight for her son Archie (pictured together before his accident) and said the High Court ruling ‘was only the beginning’
Edward Devereux QC argued that Mrs Justice Arbuthnot had not carried out a ‘comprehensive’ analysis of evidence relating to whether life-support treatment should continue.
Mr Devereux also argued that evidence had not shown ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ that Archie was dead.
Archie suffered brain damage in an incident at home in early April, judges have heard.
Ms. Dance said she found her son unconscious with a ligature over his head on April 7 and thinks he might have been taking part in an online challenge.
He has not regained consciousness.
A barrister leading Archie’s parents’ legal team told Mr Justice Hayden it is hoped the youngster will make ‘some sort of recovery’ and argued that continued treatment is not ‘futile’.
Ian Wise QC said Archie would want a ‘natural’ not ‘choreographed’ death.
He said Archie’s parents accept that it would be appropriate for the youngster ‘not to be resuscitated’ if he suffers a cardiac arrest.
‘The parents hope and pray that Archie will make some sort of recovery,’ Mr. Wise told Mr. Justice Hayden in a written case outline.
‘In the present case the treatment is not futile in that it is effective (it is keeping Archie alive) and is giving effect to Archie’s wishes to have a ‘natural’ as opposed to choreographed death.’
Mr Wise said Archie’s parents want the judge to rule that ‘it is lawful and in Archie’s best interests to continue to receive life-sustaining treatment, including mechanical ventilation; however it is not in his best interests to be administered CPR in the event that he suffers cardiac arrest, nor is it in his best interests to be administered life-sustaining intensive care which both his parents and the trust do not believe to be appropriate’ .