High Court judge rules doctors can stop treating boy

Undated family handout file photo of Archie Battersbee. A judge is preparing to deliver a ruling on

Archie Battersbee is being treated at the Royal London Hospital but a judge ruled that can stop - Credit: Family handout/PA

Doctors at the Royal London Hospital can lawfully stop treating a 12-year-old boy with brain damage, a judge has ruled.

Archie Battersbee has been receiving life support treatment at the Whitechapel facility which doctors said should end as they thought he was “brain-stem dead”.

Archie’s parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, from Southend, say the youngster’s heart is still beating and want treatment to continue.

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot ruled on Monday (June 13) that Archie, who suffered brain damage in April, was dead and said doctors could lawfully stop treating him.

She concluded that Archie had died “at noon on 31st May 2022”.

Archie Battersbee's mother, Hollie Dance, speaking outside the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel,

Archie's mother Hollie Dance - Credit: PA

In a written ruling after overseeing a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court, the judge said: “If Archie remains on mechanical ventilation, the likely outcome for him is sudden death and the prospects of recovery are nil.

“He has no pleasure in life and his brain damage is irrecoverable.

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“His position is not going to improve.

“The downside of such a hurried death is the inability of his loving and beloved family to say goodbye.”

In a statement after the ruling, Ms Dance said she was devastated.

She added: “I am 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.

“This case raises the significant moral, legal and medical questions as to when a person is dead.

“We intend to appeal and will not give up on Archie.”

Alistair Chesser, chief medical officer at Barts Health NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, expressed sympathy for Archie's family.

He said: “In line with the guidance issued by the court, our expert clinicians will provide the best possible care while life support is withdrawn.

Chief Medical Officer of Barts Health NHS Trust Alistair Chesser speaking outside the Royal London H

Alistair Chesser speaks outside the Royal London Hospital after the judgement - Credit: PA

“We are also ensuring that there is time for the family to decide whether they wish to appeal before any changes to care are made.”

Reporting by Press Association.