A judge is preparing to deliver a ruling on the future of a 12-year-old boy at the centre of a High Court life-support treatment dispute after suffering brain damage.

Doctors treating Archie Battersbee at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, think the youngster is “brain-stem dead”.

They say life-support treatment should end and Archie should be disconnected from a ventilator.


Archie’s parents, Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, from Southend, say the youngster’s heart is still beating and want treatment to continue.

Lawyers representing the Royal London Hospital’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, have asked Mrs Justice Arbuthnot to decide what moves are in Archie’s best interests.

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot is scheduled to deliver a ruling on Monday.

She recently finished overseeing a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

The judge heard that Archie suffered brain damage in an incident at home in early April.

Ms Dance told how she found him unconscious with a ligature over his head on April 7 and thinks he might have been taking part in an online challenge.

The youngster has not regained consciousness.

Lawyers representing Archie’s family have told the judge that his heart is still beating.

His mother also said he had gripped her hand.

A campaign organisation called the Christian Legal Centre is supporting Archie’s family.

“This case raises the significant moral, legal and medical question as to when a person is dead,” said the centre’s chief executive, Andrea Williams.

“Archie’s parents do not accept that he is dead and are fighting for his life.

“There is no clear definition of death in English law, and a case like this has never come before an English court before.

“The outcome is crucial for Archie and his family and anyone who cares about the value of life in this country.

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

She added: “We are praying for the judge to be granted wisdom to reach the right decision.”