Archie Battersbee was found unconscious in his home on April 7. His mother Hollie Dance found him with a ligature over his head which she thinks might have been connected to an online challenge that was widely circulated on social media.
Mrs Justice Arbuthnot delivered her judgement today (June 13) after a weeks-long hearing in the Family Division of the High Court where she heard evidence from Archie’s family and the doctors involved in his care, reports Essex Live.
Archie has not regained consciousness since the incident and while doctors at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel believe he is “brain-stem dead”, his parent’s Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, from Southend, Essex, have been fighting to keep him on life support as his heart is still beating.
The judge’s ruling was delivered earlier today and she said in a written ruling: “I find that Archie died at noon on May 31 2022, which was shortly after the MRI scans taken that day.
“I find that irreversible cessation of brain stem function has been conclusively established.
“I give permission to the medical professionals at the Royal London Hospital to cease to ventilate mechanically Archie Battersbee.”
His mum has since vowed to appeal the High Court’s decision.
Ms Dance said, after the ruling, in a statement outside the hospital: “I am devastated and extremely disappointed by the judge’s ruling after weeks of fighting a legal battle when I wanted to be at my little boy’s bedside.
“Basing this judgment on an MRI test and that he is ‘likely’ to be dead, is not good enough.
“This is believed to be the first time that someone has been declared ‘likely’ to be dead based on an MRI test.
“The medical expert opinion presented in court was clear in that the whole concept of ‘brain death’ is now discredited, and in any event, Archie cannot be reliably diagnosed as brain-dead.”
Lawyers for Royal London Hospital’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, had asked Mrs Justice Arbuthnot to decide what moves are in Archie’s best interests.