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UK Judge to Decide if 12-Year-Old Will Be Removed from Life Support, Parents Beg for More Time to Heal

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A 12-year-old boy's parents in the United Kingdom are trying to keep him hooked up to life support systems after doctors have said they believe he is "brain stem dead."

Archie Battersbee's mother and father, Holly Dance and Paul Battersbee want to give their son every chance at life after he was found unconscious on April 7 with a ligature around his neck. He reportedly had participated in what is believed to be an online blackout challenge, according to watchdog Christian Concern.

The boy is in critical condition at the Royal London Hospital. 

His parents say a video of Archie gripping his mother's fingers is proof that he's still alive and his brain is functioning. 

But his doctors believe there's no hope for the boy to recover since they believe his brain stem is dead. Scans show blood is not flowing to the area, according to Sky News. The stem lies at the base of the brain above the spinal cord. It is responsible for regulating most of the body's automatic functions essential for life. Doctors have said Archie's stem is 50% damaged and that 10% to 20% of the stem is in necrosis - where cells have died and/or are decaying.

Lawyers for the Barts Health NHS Trust said that doctors have repeatedly recreated the moment of the boy holding a clinician's hand, but the hospital workers felt "friction" not a grip, which the doctors say is consistent with muscle stiffness. 

The hospital group has asked the Family Division of the High Court to rule that it is in Archie's 'best interests' to die by removing life support. However, Archie's family is not convinced that he is brain dead. They have experienced behavior that contradicts what the hospital first told them, and have also seen stories of remarkable recoveries from similar conditions in other patients, according to Christian Concern. 

A High Court judge will decide if the boy will be taken off life support. 

On Thursday, Archie's mother sat down for an interview with Christian Concern. She said she's fighting to keep her son alive. 

Archie's mother Holly also told Sky News her son has not been given enough time to recover from his brain injury. "I don't understand the rush," she said. "I know they haven't got a lot of beds in hospital, but I don't understand the rush."

"I know he's in there and I know all that child needs is time. My gut instinct is spot on. My child is in there. He needs time to heal," she said. 

An online petition to the hospital's chief executive officer has been created to ask that legal action be withdrawn in Archie's case. So far, almost 68,000 people have signed it. 

Watch Christian Concern's video about Archie Battersbee below: 

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About The Author

Steve Warren is a senior multimedia producer for CBN News. Warren has worked in the news departments of television stations and cable networks across the country. In addition, he also worked as a producer-director in television production and on-air promotion. A Civil War historian, he authored the book The Second Battle of Cabin Creek: Brilliant Victory. It was the companion book to the television documentary titled Last Raid at Cabin Creek currently streaming on Amazon Prime. He holds an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a B.A. in Communication from the University of