Archie Battersbee inquest: Coroner says boy, 12, died from catastrophic brain injury

Archie Battersbee inquest: Coroner says boy, 12, died from catastrophic brain injury
Archie Battersbee died of a catastrophic brain injury (Screenshot/[email protected])

SOUTHEND, ESSEX: Archie Battersbee died from a "catastrophic" brain injury, an inquest into the 12-year-old's death has been heard. The boy from Southend, Essex, died on August 6 following a long life support battle. He had been in a coma since he was found unconscious in April and was being kept alive by a combination of medical interventions, including ventilation and drug treatments. According to Battersbee's family, he took part in a social media 'blackout challenge', reported the Daily Mail

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Parents Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee had fought a long-running legal fight over the withdrawal of treatment, making bids to the High Court, Court of Appeal, and European Court of Human Rights to have him transferred to a hospice to die. According to EssexLive, an inquest into his death opened on Friday morning, August 12, with a date for a full hearing set for next year. Coroner's officer Paul Donaghy said Archie was found unresponsive in his home on April 7. 

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Donaghy said, "Paramedics attended and they reported a Glasgow Coma Scale of only 3 and confirmed a cardiac arrest. CPR continued and Archie was transported to Southend Hospital. Archie was thereafter transferred to the Royal London Hospital and Great Ormand Street Hospital who were both in agreement that surgical intervention would not help Archie. He was reviewed by the Paediatric Neurology team during his admission. Second opinions were also provided by multiple professionals from the Royal London, Queen's and Great Ormond Street Hospitals who agreed that Archie had suffered severe irreversible brain injury."

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Hollie Dance (C-L) and Paul Battersbee (C-R), the mother and father of Archie Battersbee, speak to the media as they leave the Royal Courts of Justice after winning an appeal for his case to be heard again, on June 29, 2022 in London, England. The Court of Appeal has heard a plea by the family of 12-year-old Archie Battersbee to overturn a previous court ruling that he is dead and his life support system should be removed. His parents Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee have appealed the ruling, saying his heart is still beating and they want treatment to continue.
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 29: Hollie Dance (C-L) and Paul Battersbee (C-R), the mother and father of Archie Battersbee, speak to the media as they leave the Royal Courts of Justice after winning an appeal for his case to be heard again, on June 29, 2022, in London, England (Carl Court/Getty Images)

"The High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court were involved in applications to determine the direction of care and the best interests of Archie. With the authority of final court order, life-sustaining treatment was withdrawn on August 6, 2022, in a side room on the intensive care unit and Archie died surrounded by his family and friends. Death confirmed by a hospital consultant." Donaghy said a provisional cause of death was identified as catastrophic hypoxic-ischemic brain injury secondary to strangulation. 

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A family friend listens as Ella Carter, the sister-in-law of Archie Batterbee, is interviewed by media outside the Royal London Hospital on August 02, 2022 in London, England. Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, the parents of Archie Battersbee, 12, have been fighting against the Doctors treating their son who have concluded that he is brain-stem dead and that continued life-support treatment is not in his best interests.
LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 02: A family friend listens as Ella Carter, the sister-in-law of Archie Batterbee, is interviewed by media outside the Royal London Hospital on August 02, 2022, in London, England (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

The 'blackout challenge', also known as the 'choking challenge' or the 'pass-out challenge', has done the rounds on social media platforms like TikTok for several years and involves users holding their breath up until the point where they lose consciousness due to a lack of oxygen, says the same media outlet. It is done to experience a 'high', and users will record the moment and post the footage online. The brain experiencing a lack of oxygen in the 'blackout challenge' is similar to that of a cardiac arrest, drowning, or choking, and if the brain has low oxygen for three minutes serious damage can be caused, and even death for more than five minutes. 

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All medications and infusions currently keeping the 12-year-old boy alive will be stopped at 2pm. (Photo by Teesside Live/Facebook)
Archie Battersbee (Teesside Live/Facebook)

Dr Nick Flynn, a GP at Union Quay Medical Centre in Cork said that in some situations people may slump after losing consciousness, leaving it harder for the heart to pump and low levels of oxygen to the brain for a longer period of time, according to IrishExaminer.   

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Senior Coroner for Essex Lincoln Brookes set a date for the full inquest into Archie's death for February 7 next year. He told the court that an inquest would be to learn who died, where, when, and how they came about their death, with "no one being on trial" during an inquest. He added, "I also want to take the opportunity to say that Archie's death is a tragedy that so many people, especially his family on a personal level. I would like to extend my deepest condolences to Archie's family on behalf of myself and my officers." 

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