‘He is still in there’ – Mother of brain damaged boy ‘sickened’ as judge rules life support can be turned off


The mother of a brain-damaged boy has said she is “sickened” and “devastated” after a judge gave doctors permission to switch off his life support.

he UK High Court said Archie Battersbee died at the end of last month and medical professionals could legally stop treating him.

His mother, Hollie Dance, has hit back at the decision handed down on Monday.

“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,” she said.

Ms Dance said it was “not good enough” for the judgment to be based “on an MRI test and that he is ‘likely’ to be dead”.


Archie Battersbee with his mother Hollie Dance. Photo: Hollie Dance/PA

She added: “I feel sickened that the hospital and the judge have failed to take the wishes of the family into consideration. I do not believe Archie has been given enough time. From the beginning I have always thought ‘why the rush?’

“His heart is still beating, he has gripped my hand, and as his mother, I know he is still in there.”

She said the family intend to appeal.

Archie was left brain damaged after his family said he suffered a “tragic accident” at home in April.

A High Court judge was ordered to decide what was best for the child as his parents, Ms Dance and Paul Battersbee, pushed back against doctors’ proposals to switch off his life support.

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot concluded on Monday the 12-year-old boy has been dead as of May 31.

She gave doctors permission to stop mechanically ventilating Archie and to not resuscitate him.

Ms Dance said she received the decision on her son’s life support online rather than having it read out in court.

“I was actually told by the press that we weren’t to attend today – there was no formal email,” she told journalists outside the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, where Archie was staying.

When asked about the way she received the ruling, Ms Dance said: “It’s insensitive and it’s shameful but I am going to continue to fight.”

She also said it had been “agonising” and “torture” fighting the case out in court while her son remained in hospital.

Alistair Chesser, the chief medical officer at Barts Health NHS Trust, expressed sympathies for the family following the ruling.

He added: “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.”

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