Appeal judges to rule today on Archie Battersbee's life support
Judges are set to rule today on if Archie Battersbee’s life support should be switched off after brain damaged 12-year-old’s parents took fight to the Court of Appeal
- Archie was found unconscious at home with a ligature around his neck on April 7
- His parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, insist that his heart is still beating
- Ms Dance said her ‘natural born fighter’ son would want treatment to continue
The parents of a 12-year-old boy left in a comatose state after suffering ‘catastrophic’ brain damage three months ago are waiting for a ruling on the latest round of a life-support treatment fight.
Three Court of Appeal judges on Friday finished hearing arguments about what moves are in Archie Battersbee’s best interests at a hearing in London.
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 are due to deliver a ruling on Monday.
Archie’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.
Mr Justice Hayden delivered a ruling recently after reviewing evidence at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.
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
He described what had happened to Archie as a ‘tragedy of immeasurable dimensions’, but said medical evidence was ‘compelling and unanimous’ and painted a ‘bleak’ picture.
Archie’s parents, who are separated, said he made errors and want appeal judges to remit the case to another High Court judge for a another hearing.
Judges have heard how medical evidence shows that Archie is in a ‘comatose state’.
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 on only the start’
Where you can appeal after a High Court case is ruled against you?
If a court case is lost in the Family Division of the High Court in London, then it can go to the Court of Appeal.
This consists of two divisions, the Criminal Division and the Civil Decision.
Decisions of the Court of Appeal may then be appealed to the Supreme Court.
Then if all legal recourse in the UK has failed, people can appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
Barrister Edward Devereux QC, who is leading the legal team for Archie’s parents, argued at the 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.
They 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 were in Archie’s best interests.
Another High Court judge, Mrs Justice Arbuthnot, initially considered the case and concluded that Archie was dead.
But Court of Appeal judges upheld a challenge by his parents against decisions taken by Mrs Justice Arbuthnot and said the evidence should be reviewed by Mr Justice Hayden.
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