British mum argues son can’t be “brain damaged” because of hand squeeze


British mum Hollie Dance is fighting to stop her son’s life support from being switched off, despite a High Court ruling he’s likely brain dead.

A 12-year-old boy deemed brain dead by doctors is still alive, his mum insists – as he can still squeeze her hand.

Hollie Dance’s son Archie Battersbee has been at the centre of a court dispute after suffering brain damage earlier this year.

Doctors at The Royal London Hospital believe Archie is “highly likely” to be brain dead and want to turn off his life support system, The Sun reported.

But Hollie has vowed to fight for his life – and says she believes he may yet recover.

The mum, 46, found her beloved son with a ligature over his head on April 7 this year.

She believes he might have been taking part in an online challenge, which sees young people asphyxiate themselves to the point of passing out for social media videos.

The youngster was rushed to hospital in the early hours of April 8 and has been unconscious and on a ventilator ever since.

Hollie, along with Archie’s dad Paul Battersbee, 56, have now launched an appeal against a court’s decision to take the schoolboy off life support.

Mrs Justice Arbuthnot, sitting at the Family Division of the High Court in London, said earlier this month that Archie should be disconnected from his ventilator.

She concluded that he had died “at noon on May 31,” shortly after the most rece

nt MRI scans had been taken.

But Hollie, speaking to the Daily Mail, said: “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?

“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.

Mum’s horror

“What I know is that a boy who can squeeze my hand is not brain dead. I defy any mother not to do the same if they were in my situation.”

Hollie’s children from her first marriage, Tom, 22, and Lauren, 20, are also firmly behind their younger brother. Tom’s girlfriend, law student Ella Carter, 20, has been tirelessly researching the case.

The extended family, including Hollie’s second husband Paul, even call themselves “Archie’s Army”.

On the day of Archie’s injury, Hollie had taken him for lunch. They returned home at 3pm, and planned to see the new Batman film that evening.

Hollie took a phone call in her bedroom at about 4pm. As she chatted, Archie wandered in with his pet rabbit.

Just a minute or two later Hollie called out to her son to check on him.

A family’s nightmare

But after getting no reply she emerged from her room to find her son unconscious.

Hollie believes Archie was attempting a social media craze called “blackout”, where participants choke themselves until they pass out, although the cause of the accident has yet to be officially determined.

She has ruled out speculation he was trying to take his own life, saying he was a “happy” boy who was working towards his gymnastic goals and making plans for the future.

After trying to help the youngster, she ran into the street screaming for help, and says an ambulance arrived 15 minutes after she found him.

He was originally taken to Southend Hospital in Essex, with Hollie saying his pupils were responsive and he was “making efforts to breathe on his own”.

He’s a fighter, and is fighting the battle of his life – how can I not fight every bit as hard?

However, after a discussion with neurological specialists, consultants agreed to send him to

The Royal London Hospital. Hours later, a doctor told her Archie wouldn’t make it through the night.

And three days later, the hospital told Hollie they believed Archie had suffered brain death.

The family first learned they’d be facing a legal challenge from medics in an email on April 26, and appeared before a judge the following day.

A spokesman for Barts Health NHS Trust said: “This is a sad and difficult time for Archie’s family and our thoughts and sympathies are with them as they come to terms with what has happened.

“In line with the guidance issued by the court, our expert clinicians will provide the best possible care whilst life support is withdrawn. We are also ensuring that there is time for the family to decide whether they wish to appeal before any changes to care are made.”

Hollie is continuing the fight and has lodged a stay that prevents the judge’s order being put into effect, pending an appeal to overturn the ruling.

A permission to appeal hearing is set to take place on Monday. Hollie has also launched a fundraising campaign in order to pay further legal fees and medical treatment if she is successful in getting her son move to another hospital.

This story first appeared on The Sun and has been reproduced with permission.

Originally published as ‘My son squeezed my hand, he’s not brain dead’



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