'Every minute is precious' says Archie Battersbee's mother

‘Every minute is precious, and I’m spending it in court’: Archie Battersbee’s mother tells how she will ‘explore every avenue’ in legal fight to stop 12-year-old’s life support being switched off as she recalls moment she found him unconscious at home

  • Hollie Dance said that ‘every single minute’ with her 12-year-old son ‘is precious’
  • She is willing to ‘explore every avenue’ to keep her son, Archie Battersbee, alive
  • He was found unresponsive with a ligature around his neck in Essex on April 7
  • He has not regained consciousness and doctors want to perform brain stem test
  • A High Court ruling will be made on Monday, when judge decides best option 

The mother of a 12-year-old boy at the centre of a High Court battle over whether doctors should continue his life support treatment has said that ‘every single minute’ with her son ‘is precious’.

Hollie Dance said that she is willing to ‘explore every avenue’ to keep her son, Archie Battersbee, alive.

Archie has not regained consciousness after he was found unresponsive with a ligature around his neck at his home in Southend, Essex on April 7. 

Police have questioned whether he was trying a dangerous TikTok craze, that has killed more than 80 children since it was first circulated online 14-years-ago.  

Specialists treating Archie at the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London think it is ‘highly likely’ that Archie is brain dead and argue that life support treatment should end.

But Ms Dance and Archie’s father, Paul Battersbee disagree.

Hollie Dance (left) told This Morning that she is willing to ‘explore every avenue to keep her son, Archie Battersbee, alive

Archie has not regained consciousness after he was found unresponsive with a ligature around his neck at his home in Southend, Essex on April 7

Speaking on ITV’s This Morning today, Ms Dance said: ‘If I don’t explore every avenue, if I don’t fight for his life and later on we realise, well actually we didn’t look into that, we’ve missed something — I’m going to spend the rest of my life not knowing and thinking “what if, what if”.

‘I’m going with my gut and…  a mother’s gut instinct, I think you should really go with it.’

Yesterday, Archie’s parents made their closing pleas to Mrs Justice Arbuthnot, who is deciding what moves are in the 12-year-old’s best interests. 

‘Monday coming will be our ninth court appearance,’ Ms Dance added. ‘He’s been in hospital for eight weeks.

‘Every single minute is precious, and I’m having to go to court and sit there all day. I’m not getting back to hospital some days until half seven at night.’

Ms Dance said that ‘every single minute’ with her son ‘is precious’, having been away from him for nine court appearances

Giving evidence at the hearing this week, a specialist told the judge about a number of concerns noted by Archie’s treating team.

She said tests had shown no ‘discernible’ brain activity, but revealed ‘significant areas of tissue necrosis’, and added: ‘We believe that it is very likely that he is brain-stem dead.’

Ms Dance told This Morning hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby that she found Archie with something tied around his neck, cutting off his ‘windpipe’.

As she snapped the ligature off, her son, who was on the landing, fell ‘8ft onto the hallway’, where she then began CPR. 

‘I ran out screaming to get help, nobody was there so I came back in,’ she said.

Ms Dance told This Morning hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby that she found Archie (pictured) with something tied around his neck, cutting off his ‘windpipe’

Ms Dance said that initially, she thought it was an ‘accident’ and Archie might have ‘slipped’.

‘But it has been highlighted, “Are you sure he wasn’t copying this [TikTok] challenge?”,’ Ms Dance said. ‘It was only when we looked into it.’

After being taken to Southend Hospital, he was then transferred to Royal London Hospital.    

Archie’s aunt, Ella Carter, who was also on the television show today, said: ‘Before we knew it, we were being told that he was brain dead, and that they just had to do these tests as a legal formality to be able to certify brain death. 

‘Then we’d have 24 hours to get family up to say goodbye, and then a conversation about organ donation would take place.

‘It was only after some research that I saw that they can sign a death certificate after this brain stem test and we could lose all right to demand any care — so we’ve got to refuse it.’

She described her son as a ‘happy’, ‘high-spirited’ ‘daredevil’, who enjoys mixed martial arts and trains with South Essex Gymnastics Club. 

Ms Dance added that since being in hospital, her son has held her hand and opened his eyes.

His blood pressure and heart rate have also been increasing and then dropping, something she has been told could be ‘neurostorming’.

She said that her son did this when she visited today, with the nurse spotting a rise in blood pressure and heart rate.

Ms Dance described her son as a ‘happy’, ‘high-spirited’ ‘daredevil’, who enjoys mixed martial arts and trains with South Essex Gymnastics Club

‘I got up, I spoke to him, I explained what I’m doing this morning, said “bye Arch, love you”, kissed him, come out.

‘When I went back downstairs, everything had gone totally back to normal.

‘That to me is a response, he has heard my voice in the morning — it’s like he communicates via the blood pressure.’

A spokesperson for Royal London Hospital’s governing trust, Barts Health NHS Trust, told the ITV show that their ‘thoughts and sympathies are with Archie’s family at this time’, adding: ‘We await the court’s decision.’  

A ruling is expected to be delivered on Monday.

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