The parents of a 12-year-old boy who was in a coma after suffering a “catastrophic” brain injury three months ago are awaiting a decision in the latest round of their battle for life-support treatment.
Three Court of Appeal judges on Friday finished hearing arguments on what course of action was in Archie Battersby’s best interests at a hearing in London.
Sir Andrew Macfarlane, President of the Family Division High court and the most senior family court judge in England and Wales, the Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Peter Jackson are due to rule on Monday.
Archie’s parents, Holly Dance and Paul Battersby, from Southend, Essex, appealed after a High Court judge ruled that doctors could legally stop treatment.
Judge Hayden recently made the ruling after considering evidence at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.
He described what happened to Archie as a “tragedy of immeasurable proportions” but said the medical evidence was “convincing and unanimous” and painted a “grim” picture.
Archie’s estranged parents said he had made mistakes and want the appeal judges to refer the case to another High Court judge for a new hearing.
Magistrates heard how medical records showed Archie was in a “comatose state”.
Barrister Edward Devereaux, QC, who is leading the legal team for Archie’s parents, argued at the appeal hearing that Judge Hayden did not give “real or due weight” to Archie’s previously expressed wishes and religious beliefs; the wishes of Archie’s family are not given “real or due weight”; failed to conduct a “comprehensive assessment” of the benefits and burdens of continuing life-sustaining treatment; and was wrong in concluding that the treatment was difficult and useless.
Magistrates heard how Ms Dance found Archie unconscious with a ligature on his head on April 7.
She believes he may have been participating in an online competition.
The young man did not regain consciousness.
Doctors who are treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, believe he died of a brainstem and say it is not in his best interests to continue on life support. His parents disagree.
Bosses at the hospital’s managing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, have been asked to decide what medical steps are in Archie’s best interests.
Another Judge of the High Court, Mrs. Justice Arbuthnotinitially investigated the case and concluded that Archie was dead.
But appeal court judges allowed his parents’ appeal against the rulings made by Judge Arbuthnot and said the evidence should be heard by Judge Hayden.