By Michelle Morgan Davies
A heartbroken mum is fighting a High Court battle for her son’s life after he never regained consciousness following a “freak accident” at home.
Hollie Dance, 46, wants to keep her 12-year-old son Archie Battersbee on life support but the specialists treating him say it is “highly likely” he is already brain dead.
Hollie and Archie’s dad, Paul Battersbee, want to give Archie more time to see if his 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.
Mum-of-three Hollie 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.
“My older kids Tom, 22 and Lauren, 20 come every day to visit their brother and try to get him to respond. All day we talk to him and play him his favourite song, Lucis Dreams by Juice WRLD and voice notes from his friends.
“Hope is what I am holding on to at the moment. 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 any movements from Archie are reflexes.
She told the court: “Even if Archie is not brain-stem dead, his treating team consider that it is highly unlikely that he will ever recover consciousness and consequently it is in his best interests that his mechanical ventilation be withdrawn.”
A further hearing is scheduled on May 12 to review Archie’s case. Mrs Justice Morgan described Archie’s case as “unbelievably tragic” and said she hoped a resolution could be found.
Keen gymnast and MMA fighter Archie never regained consciousness after his mum found him unresponsive with a dressing gown belt wrapped under his chin hanging him from the banister at their family home in Southend-on-sea.
She said: “Me and Archie had been shopping and got home together on April 7th.
“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.
“I came out my room and called him and that’s when I saw the rabbit at the top of the stairs.
“I thought Archie was standing on the stairs but when I got closer I could see he was hanging there.
“I tried to undo the cord and get him down but he was so heavy I couldn’t lift him and undo the knot.
“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.
“Archie fell to the floor then and I was screaming and panicking. A neighbour, Joe, came and called an ambulance and took over CPR until help came.”
Archie, a pupil at Chase High School in Southend, was rushed to Southend University hospital and later transferred to the Royal London where he is still dependent on mechanical ventilation.
Hollie said: “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 accident his sister Lauren has started an instagram page @spreadthepurplewave where people can follow Archie’s journey.
Celebrity fighters like David Haye and Ricky Hatton have sent videos of support via the social media page.
A gofundme for Archie has also raised over £11,000 so far in donations.
Hollie says the money is for any possible future treatments he may need and they are not ruling out the possibility of taking him abroad.
Hollie added: “Me and Archie say to each other quitting is not an option. I will exhaust every avenue.
“He is our champion, we are so proud of all his achievements. He’s an elite gymnast and has huge potential to be a champion MMA fighter. He loves training and we want to get him back to what he loves doing. We won’t give up on him.”
If you want to support Archie’s family you can donate here: https://gofund.me/3fcbad0c