Mother Hollie Dance fights court to keep brain damaged 12 year old son Archie Battersbee alive
A desperate mother is battling with a hospital to keep her son’s life support switched on after he was found unconscious with a ligature around his neck four weeks ago.
Hollie Dance, 46, wants to give 12-year-old son Archie Battersbee every chance at life, but specialists treating him say it is ‘highly likely’ he is already brain dead.
Ms Dance and Archie’s dad, Paul Battersbee, insist on more time to see if Archie’s condition improves before making a decision about withdrawing his life support.
Hospital bosses have asked a judge from the Family Division of the High Court in London to assess the situation and rule in Archie’s best interests.
Ms Dance, from Southend-on-Sea, Essex, said: ‘Archie had a severe brain injury only four weeks ago, there’s not been enough time to see what he can do.
‘I’ve refused the brain stem testing to declare him brain dead. It’s too soon.
‘He has squeezed my fingers with a tight grip. I think that’s his way of letting me know he’s still here and just needs more time.
‘We don’t know the extent of the damage but I would rather have some of Archie than none of Archie just to wake up every morning and kiss his beautiful little face.
‘I am fighting for as much time as possible to watch and wait.’
Archie’s brother Tom, 22 and sister Lauren, 20 come every day to visit him and try to get him to respond. His family talks to him and plays his favourite song, Lucis Dreams by Juice WRLD , along with voice notes from his friends.
‘Hope is what I am holding on to at the moment,’ said Ms Dance. ‘Where there is life there’s hope.
‘Until it’s God’s way I won’t accept he should go. I know of miracles when people have come back from being brain dead.
‘He may not be the same as he was but if there’s a possibility he could live a happy life after this, I want to give it to him.’
Barrister Fiona Paterson, representing Barts Health NHS Trust, told the judge, Mrs Justice Morgan, that Archie’s treating team ‘consider it highly likely that he is, in fact, brain-stem dead.’
They say that any movements from Archie are reflexes.
Keen gymnast and MMA fighter Archie never regained consciousness after his mother found him unresponsive at their family home on April 7.
She said: ‘We’d had the perfect afternoon, I was in my room when Archie came in with this bag and a cheeky look on his face. He was going to tease me – that’s what he’s like, always on the wind up.
‘He offered me a sweet but I could see he had our pet rabbit, Simian, in the bag.
‘I laughed with him and told him to put the rabbit back. He left my room and I sent a couple of texts.
A few minutes had passed and I thought he was quiet but I wasn’t worried, he’s 12 he doesn’t need me standing over him in the house all the time.’
When Ms Dance came out of her room, she saw Archie with a cord around his neck.
She said: ‘I couldn’t get it off but I could move it from his neck, so I took the pressure off his neck and ran into the street to scream for help. I got back to Archie and managed to snap the cord.
‘I was screaming and panicking. A neighbour, Joe, came and called an ambulance and took over CPR until help came.’
Archie was taken to Southend University Hospital and later transferred to the Royal London where he is still dependent on mechanical ventilation.
His mother added: ‘At first I thought it was a freak accident and Archie was messing around with the cord and the rabbit but since it happened I wonder if Archie could have been taking part in an “online challenge.”
‘Someone got in touch with me to say they’d heard of boys putting ligatures over their head as part of an online challenge. It may not be but I’m not ruling it out.’
Since Archie’s went into hospital, his sister Lauren has started an Instagram page @spreadthepurplewave where people can follow Archie’s journey.