Archie Battersbee: Mum’s sweet message to son, 12, after judge rules life support must be turned off

A High Court ruling said the 12-year-old would never recover from an online ‘blackout challenge’ which left him in a coma

The mum of critically ill schoolboy Archie Battersbee has told how she will not give up fighting to save his life after a judge ruled he is medically dead.

Hollie Dance, 46, recounted how she broke the devastating news that doctors had been given the green light to turn off her son’s life-support machine as she sat by his hospital bed.

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A High Court ruling said Archie Battersbee would never recover from a coma (Photo: PA)

Ms Dance revealed the heartbreaking moment to The Mirror, saying she whispered in his ear: “Archie, we’ve lost this fight, but we won’t give up, we’ll keep fighting.”

She then held a bedside vigil at the hospital where she sat and held the hand of her 12-year-old and stroked his hair.

She added: “I stroked his hair and held his hand and said we’d keep fighting.

“He’s a 12-year-old boy who’s been given a death sentence. I’m not going to give up, this is just the start of the fight.

“I’ve been tortured for weeks but he’s my boy and I won’t give up. We will appeal.”

It followed a High Court ruling that Archie would never recover from an online “blackout challenge” which left him in a 10-week coma.

Archie was found by Ms Dance unconscious with a ligature over his head on 7 April and has not regained consciousness.

Doctors treating the 12-year-old at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, thought that the youngster was “brain-stem dead”, and said life-support treatment should end and Archie should be disconnected from a ventilator.

Hollie Dance argued that her son’s heart is still beating and ‘he is still in there’ (Photo: PA)

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot on Monday ruled that Archie was dead and said doctors could lawfully stop treating him.

The judge said: “I find that Archie died at noon on May 31 2022, which was shortly after the MRI scans taken that day,” said the judge in a written ruling.

“I find that irreversible cessation of brain stem function has been conclusively established.

“I give permission to the medical professionals at the Royal London Hospital to cease to ventilate mechanically Archie Battersbee.”

‘I know he is still in there’

Ms Dance and Archie’s Paul Battersbee, 56, from Southend, Essex, argue that Archie’s heart is still beating and have begged for their son to be given more time.

Speaking after the ruling, Ms Dance said in a statement: “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.

“Basing this judgment on an MRI test and that he is ‘likely’ to be dead, is not good enough. This is believed to be the first time that someone has been declared ‘likely’ to be dead based on an MRI test.

“The medical expert opinion presented in court was clear in that the whole concept of ‘brain death’ is now discredited, and in any event, Archie cannot be reliably diagnosed as brain-dead.

“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. Until it’s God’s way I won’t accept he should go. I know of miracles when people have come back from being brain dead.

“This case raises the significant moral, legal and medical questions as to when a person is dead. What does this ruling today tell us about where our society is at? We intend to appeal and will not give up on Archie.”