Written by 3:50 pm In the News

Baptised while in a coma

On April 7 this year, 12-year-old Archie Battersbee was seriously injured in an incident at his home in Southend, Essex. He was found unconscious. Since then he has been at the centre of a legal dispute.

The High Court on Monday, 13th of June, ruled that life support treatment for the boy with brain damage should be stopped as he is “brain-stem dead”.

The mother of Archie Battersbee has shared the heartwarming story of his baptism, after years of asking to be christened.

The 12-year old is currently in an induced coma after he was found unconscious in his Southend home in April.

On Monday, 13th of June, the high court deemed Archie officially “brain stem dead”, giving the hospital the go-ahead to remove his life support machine.

However, his mother Hollie Dance is adamant that she won’t give up without a fight. She believes God has chosen Archie for this very moment.

Archie had expressed a strong interest in Christianity and regularly asked his mother if they could be baptised together in the Catholic church near their home.

Following his accident – believed to be the result of a TikTok challenge that sees people choke themselves until they pass out – Archie’s mother and siblings converted to Catholicism.

Despite being unconscious, Archie was able to be baptised by the hospital chaplain on Easter Sunday. His mum, Hollie and two elder siblings followed suit the next day.

Hollie told Premier Christian News, “What is the positive to come out of this negative, awful situation? Archie is an elite gymnast, he’s an MMA fighter, he’s got a fighting spirit. He’s an extremely healthy, fit, child. I just feel sometimes that maybe Archie was actually chosen to go through this because he is strong. He was strong enough to hold out as long as he has while we’ve gone through this whole court process”.

“I’ve got to witness what goes on with children within this hospital and that it seems to be quite a reoccurring thing. I just find it really sad that these children are losing their life. I just think maybe Archie is the one that could possibly change that, and going through this situation, he might have just always been chosen to do that.”

In the weeks before Archie was rushed to hospital, Hollie says she saw quotes about God and Christianity everywhere.

She said: “Someone’s looking down on me, I’m finding this really comforting.

“I was actually screen-shotting and keeping those God quotes and Jesus quotations and there was one about ‘if a battle if it’s not your battle, God will take this battle from you until it’s ready to be handed back’ and that’s one of the ones that I screenshot, and I just find it really comforting.

“Then obviously, this accident has happened with Archie and it’s the chaplain came in, and instantly asked ‘Oh, would you like me to pray?’ I just feel that Archie would love that. We’ve done that every single day since we’ve been like been here  – every day for just over eight weeks.”

Alistair Chesser, Chief Medical Officer 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 there is time for the family to decide whether they wish to appeal before any changes to care are made.”

In a statement issued after the court decision, Ms Dance said: “I am devastated and extremely disappointed by the judge’s ruling after weeks of fighting a legal battle when I wanted to be at my little boy’s bedside. Basing this judgement on an MRI test and that he is ‘likely’ to be dead, is not good enough. This is believed to be the first time that someone has been declared ‘likely’ to be dead based on an MRI test.”

She said she felt “sickened” that the hospital and judge had not taken into account the wishes of the family and added she did “not believe Archie has been given enough time”.

“His heart is still beating, he has gripped my hand, and as his mother, I know he is still in there,” she said.

“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.

“We intend to appeal and will not give up on Archie.”

(With inputs from Premier Christian News; Picture Courtesy: Hollie Dance)

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