Mum of 'brain dead' 12-year-old refusing to turn off life support: 'Waiting for a miracle'

·Freelance Writer
·3 min read
Archie Battersbee has not regained consciousness after suffering brain damage in an incident at home. (PA)
Archie Battersbee has not regained consciousness after suffering brain damage in an incident at home. (PA)

The family of a 12-year-old boy with a brain injury are fighting to keep his life support switched on, insisting that “it’s too soon” to turn it off.

Archie Battersbee, of Southend, Essex, was discovered unresponsive by his mum, Hollie Dance, in his bedroom on 7 April.

He was found hanging in what Ms Dance believes was either a “freak accident” or an “online challenge” gone wrong.

Keen boxer and gymnast Archie was rushed to Southend University hospital and later transferred to the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel and has not regained consciousness after suffering brain damage.

Archie Battersbee is relying on mechanical ventilation after he suffered brain damage. (GoFundMe)
Archie Battersbee is relying on mechanical ventilation after he suffered brain damage. (GoFundMe)

The 12-year-old is now relying on mechanical ventilation to stay alive, but doctors have said it is “highly likely” the youngster is brain dead.

Specialists treating the schoolboy in Whitechapel, east London, say brain death is “highly likely” and want a procedure carried out to check.

But Ms Dance and Archie’s father, Paul Battersbee, have raised concerns about the doctors’ proposals.

On Thursday, a judge based in the Family Division of the High Court will consider what moves are in Archie’s best interests.

Specialists treating Archie Battersbee think it is 'highly likely' the youngster is dead. (GoFundMe)
Specialists treating Archie Battersbee think it is 'highly likely' the youngster is dead. (GoFundMe)

Ahead of the hearing, Ms Dance, said: “Archie had a severe brain injury only four weeks ago, there's not been enough time to see what he can do.

“I've refused the brain stem testing to declare him brain dead. It's too soon.

“He has squeezed my fingers with a tight grip. I think that's his way of letting me know he's still here and just needs more time.

“Only a few days ago, he began to open his eyes. When his ventilator tube was being replaced, tears appeared in his eyes.

Archie Battersbee was rushed to Southend University hospital and later transferred to the Royal London hospital in Whitechapel. (GoFundMe)
Archie Battersbee was rushed to Southend University hospital and later transferred to the Royal London hospital in Whitechapel. (GoFundMe)

“Until it's God's way I won't accept he should go. I know of miracles when people have come back from being brain dead.

“He may not be the same as he was but if there's a possibility he could live a happy life after this, I want to give it to him.”

Fiona Paterson, for Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, told the judge the “priority” is a decision on whether Archie should have the brain-stem test, which she said is “endorsed nationally” and would be done in a way that ensures any risk is “minimised”.

Ms Paterson wants the judge to rule that the test is in Archie’s best interests.

But Bruno Quintaville, for his parents, said they are “very concerned” that their son had not received treatment to relieve swelling on his brain.

“The concern is that he may be suffering every day more damage which could have been avoided,” he said.

A GoFundMe page for Archie has raised over £14,000 in donations so far.

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