Doctors treating a 12-year-old boy on life support have told a court that he is “brain-stem dead” and should be allowed to die.
Archie Battersbee’s parents disagree, telling the judge who will decide his future that his heart is still beating and that they are praying for a miracle.
Archie has been receiving treatment at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, since he lost consciousness after suffering brain damage in an incident at his home two months ago.
Doctors say he should be disconnected from a ventilator but his parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, from Southend, Essex, say they want treatment to continue.
Lawyers representing the Royal London’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, have asked judge Mrs Justice Arbuthnot to decide what is in Archie’s best interests.
A medical expert told the High Court on Tuesday that tests had shown no “discernible” brain activity and revealed “significant areas of tissue necrosis”.
“We believe that it is very likely that he is brain-stem dead,” she said.
Another expert at an earlier hearing explained the brain stem was responsible for the functions that kept people alive.
He said Archie’s prognosis was “very grave” and told the judge that his chances of recovery were “very low”.
A spokeswoman for Archie’s family told the court everyone hoped he would recover.
His mother said she found him unconscious with a ligature over his head on 7 April and thinks he might have been taking part in an online challenge.
He has not regained consciousness.
Issue over ‘correct procedure’
Lawyers representing Archie’s family told the judge that his heart is still beating.
They also said there was an issue as to whether “the correct procedure” had been followed and whether the “family’s views” had been taken into account.
A campaign organisation called the Christian Legal Centre is supporting Archie’s family.
The hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London is due to end on Wednesday.
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