Specialists will next week perform a test to try to determine whether a 12-year-old boy at the center of a dispute over life-sustaining treatment after suffering “catastrophic” brain damage in an incident at home is dead, hospital officials say.
A judge in the High Court concluded late Friday that a brain stem test would be in Archie Battersbee’s best interest after a doctor told her that the brain stem was responsible for the functions that kept people alive.
Mrs Justice Arbuthnot was told that specialists treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, East London, thought it was “very likely” that the young man was dead.
A spokeswoman for the hospital’s governing trust, the Barts Health NHS Trust, said after the private hearing in the family ward at the High Court in London that a brain stem test would be arranged next week.
Hollie Dance, who cried when Mrs Justice Arbuthnot handed down her sentence, has told how she found her son Archie with a ligature over her head on April 7 and believes he may have taken part in an online challenge.
“There has not been enough time to see what he can do,” Miss Dance said after the verdict.
“He has squeezed my fingers with a hard grip.
“I think it’s his way of letting me know he’s still here and just needs more time.”
She added: “Before it is God’s way, I will not accept that he should go.
“I know of miracles when people have returned from being brain dead.
“He may not be the same as he was, but if there is a possibility that he could live a happy life after this, I want to give it to him.”
Mrs Justice Arbuthnot, hearing that Archie had suffered “catastrophic” brain damage, said Archie’s family and doctors needed to know the results of the brain stem test.
“On a human level, I understand family anxiety,” she said.
“Anyone can understand how much they have to fear the outcome.”
Mrs Justice Arbuthnot oversaw a private hearing but said Archie could be mentioned in media reports on the case.
A campaign organization called the Christian Legal Center said it supports Archie’s family.