How online asphyxiation challenge left Archie Battersbee 'brain dead' with 'low chance of recovery'
The family of Archie Battersbee, a 12-year-old UK boy who suffered “catastrophic brain damage” while performing an online asphyxiation challenge has lost their second appeal. A United Kingdom court ruled on Monday that Archie’s life support can be switched off by the doctors from noon on Tuesday, August 2. The decision of the court came out despite the intervention of the United Nations
The United Nations, on Monday, August 1, had asked the court to delay the withdrawal of Archie’s life support after they looked into the case after his parents’ appeal. But a panel of three judges rejected the plea saying it was in Archie’s "best interest."
What happened to 12-year-old Archie Battersbee?
Hailing from the United Kingdom, 12-year-old Archie Battersbee suffered catastrophic brain damage after getting seriously injured at his home in Southend, Essex on April 7, 2022. The little boy was found in an unconscious state by his mother Hollie Dance. Hollie said she found the boy with a ligature over his head and assumed that he was taking part in an online asphyxiation challenge. Hollie told the Echo after the incident: "It’s a freak accident which resulted in a brain injury and I’m just reliving it constantly. To be honest, the doctors are saying negative stuff, he’s not responding, but we do hold hope.” She added, “I feel he needs a bit of time."
Archie is receiving Medical treatment from the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, with his family by his bedside. It has been months since the accident but he has not regained consciousness yet. To help the Battersbee family and collect the money for medical support, a Gofundme page was set up by Archie’s sister-in-law Ella Carter, which has raised over £29,000 by now.
How is Archie doing now?
Archie who is on the life-support at the Royal London Hospital has not regained consciousness. On June 6, a specialist told the UK court that Archie is "brain-stem dead" as the scan showed some part of Archie’s brain was already dead. The doctors also claimed the "chance of recovery is very low" as the life support treatment he was on was not going to aid in his recovery.
For the unaware, "brain death," or the medical term, "brain stem death" is a state where the brain of a person fails to function and they need an artificial life support machine to keep the patient alive. However, Archie’s parents claimed that his heart is still beating and want the treatment of their son to continue. Talking to Daily Mail, Hollie said Archie has squeezed her hand and she will fight for her son till her last breath. “I was told my son would not last the night when he arrived in hospital. Yet here he is ten weeks later. He’s a fighter, and is fighting the battle of his life - how can I not fight every bit as hard?"
She added, “All we have ever asked for is time. People are in comas for months but the hospital wanted to pronounce my son dead after just three days when he was still under sedation. Archie should be treated as a living patient until it can be proven that he’s not — and the MRI scan they have relied on is not proof.
Why UK court ruled to switch off Archie’s life support
While parents Hollie and Paul still believe that Archie still has life left in him and he will eventually recover, specialists have already declared him "brain dead" and said his condition won't ever get better. Edward Devereux, QC, who leads Archie's parents' legal team, said the decision was made by the court to balance the probabilities. He argued that switching off Archie's life support should have been made based on what was beyond reasonable doubt.
After the court ruled the decision, a Campaign organization the Christian Legal Centre came in the support of Archie’s family. The chief executive of the organization Andrea Williams said the initial ruling "sets a dark and troubling precedent", and said the family will fight on: "Archie's parents do not accept that he is dead and are fighting courageously for his life.