Archie Battersbee’s mother said in a heartbreaking moment her son’s life support was going to end


A Supreme Court ruling ruled that Archie Battersbee would never recover from a coma caused by an online “blackout challenge” and his life support machine should be shut down

Archie Battersbee, 12
Archie Battersbee, 12

The mother of critically ill Archie Battersbee has revealed how she sat at his hospital bed to break the devastating news that doctors had given the go-ahead to turn off his life support machine.

Hollie Dance, 46, opened up about the devastating encounter with her 12-year-old son, during which she whispered to him, “Archie, we lost this fight but we will not give up, we will keep fighting.”

It followed a Supreme Court ruling that he would never recover from an online “blackout challenge” that sent him into a 10-week coma.

Ms Justice Arbuthnot gave medics permission to take him off a ventilator and off the medication after a bitter legal battle in which medics argued he was “brain stem dead”.

Hollie and Archie’s father, Paul Battersbee, 56, said his heart was still beating and the student was eventually able to recover from his injuries.

The boy in a coma, in the hospital


@Hollie Dance/Facebook)

Archie suffered brain damage in an incident at home



Last night – just hours after the verdict and as the family held a vigil at the hospital – Hollie said: “I stroked his hair and held his hand and said we were going to keep fighting.

“He is a 12-year-old boy who has been sentenced to death. I won’t give up, this is just the beginning of the fight.

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

Hollie found Archie on April 7th this year with a ligature over his head at her home in Southend, Essex.

Hollie Dance vows to appeal High Court decision



She believes he may have participated in an online social media craze in which people choke themselves, pass out, and regain consciousness in front of the camera.

Up to 82 people are believed to have died as a result of the phenomenon, and hundreds more suffered brain injuries.

Yesterday Ms Justice Arbuthnot concluded that an MRI scan taken on May 31 showed Archie had died.

But Hollie choked back tears, spoke of her devastation and refused to give up hope. She said: “I know my son is still there.”

Archie’s mother has struggled to continue her son’s treatment



Archie has been in a coma since being hospitalized but has fought a harrowing struggle to survive.

Out of court, Hollie said she will appeal the court’s verdict – believed to be the first time a decision about death has been made using an MRI scan.

She said: “I am devastated and extremely disappointed by the judge’s decision after weeks of litigation when I wanted to be by my little boy’s bedside.

“The medical report presented in court was clear in that the whole concept of ‘brain death’ is now discredited.

Archie Battersbee’s mother Hollie Dance (centre left) after speaking at the Royal London Hospital



“In any case, Archie cannot be reliably diagnosed as brain dead.

“I am disgusted that the hospital and the judge did not consider his family’s wishes.

“I don’t think Archie was given enough time. From the beginning I always thought: ‘What’s the rush?’

“His heart is still beating, he grabbed my hand, and as his mother and through my mother’s instincts, I know my son is still there.”

In a written judgment, Ms Justice Arbuthnot said: “I find that the irreversible cessation of brainstem function has been definitively established.”

The judge continued: “If Archie remains on mechanical ventilation, the likely outcome for him is sudden death and the chances of recovery are nil.

“He doesn’t enjoy life and his brain damage is irreparable.

“His position will not improve. The downside of such a hasty death is the inability of his loving and beloved family to say goodbye.”

Archie’s story reduced This Morning brought Holly Willoughby to tears last week when Hollied detailed how she hysterically tried to resuscitate her son.

The family’s legal case is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre.

The organization’s executive director, Andrea Williams, said: “Life is the most precious gift we have. This ruling sets a disturbing and dark precedent.

“This case has raised significant moral, legal and medical questions about when a person is dead.”

Alistair Chesser, Chief Medical Officer of the Barts Health NHS Trust, said outside the hospital in Whitechapel, east London: “This is a sad and difficult time for Archie’s family and our thoughts and sympathies are with them as they come to terms with what has happened.

“In accordance with the court’s instructions, our experienced clinicians will provide the best possible care while life support is withdrawn.

“We’re also making sure the family has time to decide if they want to appeal before any changes to the care are made.”

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