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Despite doctors’ warnings that it is likely Archie Battersbee has severe brain damage, his parents Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee argued he should be given more time to recover.
Archie was found unconscious at his family home in Southend, Essex, in April after taking part in what is believed to have been an online “blackout” challenge.
He remains in a coma and his family’s hopes of a recovery were dashed yesterday when a High Court judge ruled he was dead.
Mum Hollie, 46, said: “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 boy’s bedside.
“This case raises significant moral, legal and medical questions as to when a person is dead. We intend to appeal and will not give up on Archie.”
Mrs Justice Arbuthnot concluded the youngster died “at noon on May 31, 2022”. This was shortly after the most recent MRI scans were taken.
The judge gave doctors at the Royal London Hospital in east London permission to stop mechanical ventilation and not attempt resuscitation.
She added: “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. His position is not going to improve. The downside of such a hurried death is the inability of his beloved family to say goodbye.”
Hollie said Archie had gripped her hand in the hospital and questioned the use of MRI tests to declare him dead.
There are strict medical tests to determine whether someone meets the criteria for brain stem death but in Archie’s case they could not be used due to the nature of his injuries.
But his mother added: “This is believed to be the first time someone has been declared ‘likely’ to be dead based on an MRI test.
“The expert opinion presented in court was clear in that the whole concept of ‘brain death’ is now discredited. In any event, Archie cannot be reliably diagnosed as brain-dead.”
However, Professor Dominic Wilkinson, a medical ethics expert at Oxford University, told the Daily Express all signs suggested Archie would not recover, even with more time.
He said: “In the most extreme forms of brain injury, it doesn’t matter how long you wait, you’re not going to have any meaningful recovery.
“That was the evidence presented by all of the experts who saw Archie.”
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