The parents of a 12-year-old boy left in a comatose state after suffering ‘catastrophic’ brain damage three months ago are awaiting a decision on the latest round of a life-saving treatment battle.
On Friday, three Court of Appeal judges finished hearing arguments on what measures are in Archie Battersbee’s best interests at a hearing in London.
Sir Andrew McFarlane, chairman of the High Court’s Family Division and England and Wales’ longest-serving family court judge, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Peter Jackson are due to give a ruling on Monday.
Archie’s parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, from Southend, Essex, have mounted an appeal bid after a High Court judge ruled doctors could legally stop treatment.
Judge Hayden recently ruled after reviewing evidence during a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.
He described what happened to Archie as a “tragedy of immeasurable dimensions”, but said the medical evidence was “compelling and unanimous” and painted a “grim” picture.
Archie’s parents, who are separated, said he had made mistakes and wanted the appeal judges to refer the case to another High Court judge for another hearing.
The judges heard how the medical evidence shows Archie is in a ‘comatose state’.
Barrister Edward Devereux QC, who leads the legal team for Archie’s parents, argued at the appeal hearing that Judge Hayden failed to give ‘actual or proper weight’ to wishes and beliefs nuns previously voiced by Archie; failed to give ‘actual or proper weight’ to Archie’s family wishes; failed to conduct a “full assessment” of the benefits and harms of continuing life-sustaining treatment; and had been wrong to conclude that the treatment was painful and futile.
Judges heard how Ms Dance found Archie unconscious with a ligature over his head on April 7.
She thinks he may have participated in an online challenge.
The young man did not regain consciousness.
Doctors treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, believe he is brain dead and say continuing life-sustaining treatment is not in his best interests. Her parents disagree.
Bosses at the hospital’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, had asked for rulings on medical measures that were in Archie’s best interest.
Another High Court judge, Madam Justice Arbuthnot, first considered the case and concluded that Archie was dead.
But the Court of Appeal judges upheld his parents’ challenge to the rulings made by Judge Arbuthnot and said the evidence should be considered by Judge Hayden.