Good Morning Britain host Kate Garraway interviewed Archie Battersbee’s mother Hollie on the show on Tuesday morning.
And during the emotional conversation, Kate, 55, spoke about fighting to keep her husband Derek Draper alive amid his recovery from Covid in 2020. He returned to hospital last month after contracting ‘life-threatening’ sepsis.
Archie, 12, has been in a coma since April after an online ‘blackout’ challenge is believed to have gone wrong.
He is expected to be taken off his ventilator at 12pm after the Court of Appeal ruled continuing life support was not in his best interests but his parents have been fighting to give him more time and are convinced he is showing signs of recovery, however small.
Hollie and Archie’s father, Paul Battersbee, will now ask Supreme Court justices to consider their application for permission to appeal directly – despite that same court previously refusing them permission to appeal.
‘We have to manage our instinct and what is right for the person’: Kate Garraway discussed husband Derek Draper’s life-threatening hospital visit during an emotional interview with Archie Battersbee’s mother Hollie Dance on Tuesday
Sad: Archie is expected to be taken off his ventilator at 12pm after the Court of Appeal ruled continuing life support was not in his best interests – after he fell into a coma in April – his mother said: ‘If Archie was in pain and deteriorating in the way it has been put over to the courts then I would be feeling very different but that isn’t the case’
Kate said: ‘I’ve got a couple of things to ask you that are a little bit based from my own experience, which I want to stress, particularly for Derek’s family who might be watching, is very different from yours.
‘Mercifully I’ve not had to have the conversations with doctors about discussions of turning off the life support machines, and Derek’s brain stem has never been affected in the way that poor Archie’s had
‘But I have had to have conversations in my own head with myself sometimes when Derek was in a coma and in a state of minimum consciousness, about how much my frenzy to fight for him and to check every possible option was about me and my needs and how much was about him.
Tragic: Archie, 12, has been in a coma since April after an online ‘blackout’ challenge is believed to have gone wrong
Battle: Doctors have been given permission to turn off Archie’s life support machine, but his parents are continuing the fight to keep him alive. Pictured, Archie in hospital
‘And I understand your fight but I guess what the courts are there for is to try and manage our instinct and what is right for the person. Have you thought about that?’
Hollie said: ‘Yes of course I have. And if Archie was in pain and deteriorating in the way it has been put over to the courts then I would be feeling very different but that isn’t the case. And based on that not being the case I find it very hard not to exhaust every option.’
She explained: ‘Archie is showing very different signs. He’s progressing in so many ways.
‘He regulates his own body temperature, he has a stable heart beat, he holds his own blood pressure, he’s gaining weight, all different things that haven’t been put over.
Terrifying: Meanwhile, Kate revealed Derek, 54, had developed a kidney infection that caused dangerous complications (pictured in 2020)
‘Archie has held my hand, he’s held other people’s hands, squeezed fingers, he squeezed them so tight my fingers were red.
‘He’s opened his eyes, he’s attempted to breathe, all we’re asking for is time.’
Archie suffered catastrophic brain damage following the incident and has never regained consciousness. Doctors say his brain stem is dead, meaning he will not recover.
A panel of three judges rejected a plea from his parents to keep Archie alive until his case could be considered by the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
But they gave the family a short delay on withdrawing life support until noon today, so they could consider any other last-minute legal applications they wish to make.
Strong: The parents of Archie Battersbee, Paul Battersbee and Hollie Dance, outside Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel on Monday
On Monday, The Court of Appeal judges refused to grant permission to Archie’s parents – Hollie Dance and Paul Battersbee, who are separated but both live in Southend – to appeal against their ruling at the Supreme Court.
However, Miss Dance and Mr Battersbee will now ask Supreme Court justices to consider their application for permission to appeal directly – despite that same court previously refusing them permission to appeal.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain, Miss Dance said: ‘I know Archie’s still with us. I promised Archie I would fight for his life to the end and that’s what I’m doing. All he needs is time, that’s what we’re asking for.’
Asked what she would do if the appeal to the Supreme Court was unsuccessful, Miss Dance said: ‘We’re in discussions about moving Archie because we don’t want him to spend his last moments in his hospital.’
Is brain stem death the same as being in a vegetative state? And what are the chances of recovery?
Archie’s doctors insist he is ‘brain dead’.
This is different to a ‘vegetative state’ which happens after extensive brain damage, like that suffered by F1 racing legend Michael Schumacher in a catastrophic skiing accident in 2013.
It is permanent, meaning the affected person will never regain consciousness or start breathing on their own again. They are legally confirmed as dead, with the time on their death certificate logged when they fail a catalogue of tests.
The NHS says it can be ‘confusing’ because brain dead people can still have a beating heart and their chest will ‘rise and fall with every breath’. However, this is solely down to life support machines — not because the person has miraculously regained the ability to do this themselves.
Occasionally, the limbs and torso can move. But this is simply down to reflexes triggered by nerves in the spine that are not linked with the brain. It does not indicate that the brain is still working.
Whereas, it is scientifically possible for someone in a vegetative state to recover. This is because their brain stem, which controls breathing and heartbeat, still functions, meaning they may show signs of being awake — such as being able to open their eyes.
One year after going into a vegetative state, around 43 per cent will regain consciousness, 34 per cent die and 23 per cent are still vegetative.
However, those who wake up are often minimally conscious, unable to communicate and have to be fed through a tube.
Dozens of people claim to have beaten brain death in the past. Zack Dunlap, a 21-year-old from Oklahoma, told of how he heard doctors tell his family he was brain dead following a scan. But his arm moved while he was being prepared for organ donation. He later woke up, recovered and went home seven weeks later.
But the Neurocritical Care Society, a network of more than 2,000 healthcare workers, says it is impossible. Writing in an FAQ page, it said: ‘If anyone claims to have recovered from brain death, then the diagnosis was incorrect.’
The brain stem is located at the bottom of the brain and controls consciousness, awareness, breathing and the ability to regulate heart and blood pressure.
If damaged – through trauma in Archie’s case, or through bleeding, infections or tumours – it swells up but has no room to expand because it is encased inside the skull. This causes pressure to build up, leading to a drop in blood flow to the brain and damage to tissue.
This pressure and swelling pushes the brain through a small opening at the base of the skull, which can not always be stopped or reversed.
When the brain stem stops working, it cannot send messages to the body to control any functions and cannot receive messages back from the body. This damage is irreversible.
Six tests need to be met before a person can be declared as a brain stem death. These include the pupils not responding to light, having no cough or gag reflex and being unresponsive to pain.
There has not yet been any word from the Supreme Court over whether judges had agreed to accept the family’s case, meaning any decision over Archie’s fate could come at the 11th hour today. If the court agrees to hear the case then doctors will be ordered to keep him on life support until judges have reached a decision.
Archie, an aspiring Olympic gymnast, was fit and healthy until April this year, when he was found unconscious at home. His mother believes he was taking part in an online ‘blackout’ challenge. He suffered catastrophic brain damage and has never regained consciousness. Doctors say his brain stem is dead, meaning he will not recover.
Meanwhile, Kate returned to Good Morning Britain on Monday after taking time off when the health of Derek declined.
Addressing the terrifying health scare on her first show back, Kate revealed Derek, 54, had developed a kidney infection that developed dangerous complications.
The former lobbyist contracted sepsis and is now at risk of losing one of his kidneys.
Kate explained Derek had been in and out of hospital with minor health concerns until July 9 when she was on air.
She said: ‘I got a phone call from the person who was looking after him saying, “Right, we’re really worried”. I whizzed home and it just sort of went boom from there.
‘We called an ambulance, went to A and E, where they said he had very severe sepsis, life-threatening sepsis. So it was really dramatic.’
After praising the efforts of medical staff, Kate explained they needed to quickly find the source of infection and get Derek onto the right antibiotics.
She continued: ‘His blood pressure was so low. A really junior doctor said, “What did you think it might be?” He knew it wasn’t Covid-19 because we tested before we left the hospital on the Thursday.
‘I said, “Well I did wonder if it was a urine infection, but weirdly we couldn’t get anything for a sample.” And they just went, “Kidneys”‘.
‘Unfortunately, his kidneys were really badly infected, blocked. The challenge now is to save them. So that’s where we’ve been for the last three weeks.’
Kate confirmed her husband is still in hospital ‘waiting for his next procedure’ but is no longer on an intensive care ward.
She said: ‘One kidney is looking really good, just need to look at the other one. Still in high dependency.’
The presenter took a leave of absence from GMB order to be by her ailing husband’s side following his hospitalisation three weeks ago.
Addressing the issue for the first time on Sunday she wrote in an Instagram post: ‘Thank you so so much for all your messages of support – they really do mean the world to me & the whole family.
‘I have taken some time off @gmb @smoothradio & in the last 3 weeks as Derek’s health took an unexpected & frightening turn for the worse that landed him back in intensive care & fighting for his life – again.’
She added: ‘Thanks to the amazing nhs teams & his own extraordinary life force & spirit Derek – please god – is back on the right side of it now and Im so looking forward to seeing you all back on @gmb from 6 a.m tomorrow & @smoothradio from 6 a.m tomorrow & – hopefully celebrating @lionesses #worldcup win! Love & see you in the morning!’
She accompanied her message with a photo of herself, Derek and the couple’s two children, Darcy 16, and William, 12.
Sources close to Kate told the Daily Mail that the mother of two ‘has a lot on caring for him’, and has decided to step back from her TV and radio roles following his admittance to hospital in July.
She revealed at the time that Derek was back in hospital after suffering a ‘downturn’, but added she was ‘keeping her fingers crossed’ that his health could improve, two years after contracting Covid.
Concern: Kate returned to social media on Sunday to reveal husband Derek had been ‘fighting for his life’ after taking an ‘unexpected and frightening’ turn for the worst
Kate penned: ‘Thanks to the amazing nhs teams & his own extraordinary life force & spirit Derek – please god – is back on the right side of it now [sic]
What are the key symptoms of sepsis? The ‘silent killer’ that can cause death in minutes
Sepsis, known as the ‘silent killer’, strikes when an infection such as blood poisoning sparks a violent immune response in which the body attacks its own organs.
It is a potentially life-threatening condition, triggered by an infection or injury. Around 245,000 people develop sepsis in the UK each year and 52,000 die, according to the UK Sepsis Trust.
Instead of attacking the invading bug, the body turns on itself, shutting down vital organs.
If caught early enough, it’s easily treated with intravenous antibiotics and fluids, but these must be given as soon as sepsis is suspected – it strikes with frightening speed and, for every hour of delay, a patient’s chance of dying increases 8 per cent.
Sepsis is a leading cause of avoidable death killing 44,000 people each year
The early symptoms of sepsis can be easily confused with more mild conditions, meaning it can be difficult to diagnose.
A high temperature (fever), chills and shivering, a fast heartbeat and rapid breathing are also indicators.
A patient can rapidly deteriorate if sepsis is missed early on, so quick diagnosis and treatment is vital – yet this rarely happens.
In the early stages, sepsis can be mistaken for a chest infection, flu or upset stomach.
It is most common and dangerous in older adults, pregnant women, children younger than one, people with chronic conditions or those who have weakened immune systems.
The six signs of something potentially deadly can be identified by the acronym ‘SEPSIS’:
- Slurred speech or confusion
- Extreme shivering or muscle pain
- Passing no urine in a day
- Severe breathlessness
- Skin that’s mottled or discoloured
Anyone who develops any of these symptoms should seek medical help urgently — and ask doctors: ‘Could this be sepsis?’
Struggles: The presenter took a leave of absence from GMB order to be by her ailing husband’s side following his hospitalisation three weeks ago (pictured in 2019)
Earlier this month Kate admitted she was taking things ‘day by day’ after Derek was re-admitted to hospital, telling The Sun: ‘He’s been in hospital a couple of months now. He’s been coming in and out.
‘Hopefully he’ll come out again. Hopefully tonight. I’m crossing my fingers. I’m really tired but I take it day by day to level out the ups and downs.’
On July 6 Kate revealed that Derek, who has required round-the-clock care since he contracted coronavirus in March 2020, had returned to a medical facility, insisting he was ‘OK’.
Last month Kate admitted she was feeling ‘exhausted and fretful’ as Derek continued to go in and out of hospital.
In May, she also missed a week of hosting Good Morning Britain following ‘urgent’ issues at home.
Derek returned home from hospital in April 2021 after a year-long battle and still requires round-the-clock care in the midst of his lengthy recovery.
A timeline of Derek Draper’s coronavirus battle
Kate revealed she and Prince Charles had got ‘relatively close’ at the Prince’s Trust Awards on March 11 – Charles was diagnosed with coronavirus in mid-March.
She said: ‘Around the 29/30 March, I came home came in and said [to Derek] ‘god you look ill.’
‘He said he had a headache, numbness in his right hand, and was struggling to breathe,
‘I rang Dr Hilary (Jones) and tried to get through, he talked to Derek. He said put me back on, I think you need to call an ambulance’
Derek, 52, was taken into hospital on March 30 and remained in an unresponsive condition.
Kate and her children isolated at home after she displayed ‘mild symptoms’.
Kate said: ‘Derek remains in intensive care and is still very ill. I’m afraid it remains an excruciatingly worrying time.
‘I’m afraid he is still in a deeply critical condition, but he is still here, which means there is hope.’
Kate said: ‘The journey for me and my family seems to be far from over as every day my heart sinks as I learn new and devastating ways this virus has more battles for Derek to fight.
‘But he is still HERE & so there is still hope.’
That month, Kate and her family took part in the final clap for carers
She said: ‘I’ll never give up on that because Derek’s the love of my life but at the same time I have absolute uncertainty’
On June 5, Kate revealed Derek is now free from coronavirus but continues to fight against the damage inflicted on his body
On July 5, Kate revealed Derek has woken from his coma but he remains in a serious yet critical condition.
On July 8, she announced she would be returning to GMB, after being urged by doctors to ‘get on with life’ during Derek’s recovery.
She added that Derek had ‘opened his eyes’ after waking from his coma, but has been told his recovery could take years.
On July 13, Kate returned to GMB for the first time since Derek was hospitalised.
On July 28, Kate revealed she’d paid an ‘extra emotional’ first visit to Derek, and admitted she’s ‘frustrated’ by his slow progress.
On August 14, Kate reassured GMB viewers that Derek was ‘still with us,’ but it was ‘a waiting game.’
On August 19, Kate revealed she celebrated Derek’s birthday with their two children, and described the day as ‘challenging’ for her family.
At the end of September, Derek reportedly becomes the longest surviving patient with coronavirus after spending 184 days in and out of intensive care.
Kate reveals Derek has lost eight stone during his battle.
The presenter announces she is returning to her Smooth Radio show so Derek can hear her voice.
On October 30 Kate reveals that Derek has spoken for the first time in seven months, saying the word ‘pain’ to his wife, who watched on ‘in tears’ over FaceTime.
Kate says a day later that her husband no longer needs a ventilator to breathe.
Kate reveals her family car has been stolen in latest ‘body blow’ to her family life, as kind-hearted fans offer their cars to help.
She says she feels ‘physically sick’ at the prospect of facing her first Christmas without Derek.
The GMB star tells viewers it is her dream to visit Derek on Christmas Day.
She also reveals she missed two weeks on GMB after her children were exposed to the virus, but thankfully she and the kids tested negative.
On December 17, Kate has an emotional conversation live on GMB with two nurses who treated Derek when he was first admitted to Whittington Hospital in North London.
On New Year’s Eve she reflects on a ‘calamitous’ Christmas without Derek, as her house was flooded and she struggled to get a food delivery slot until her pal Emma Willis stepped in to help.
Kate reveals she and her children got to visit Derek in hospital over the Christmas period, and it was the first time her family had seen him since he was hospitalised.
She also says she’s banned from seeing him due to new restrictions introduced during the government’s third lockdown.
Kate reveals she is unsure how much Derek will ‘ever be able to recover’ following warning from doctors that he may never wake from his coma
Kate revealed that was in the process of adapting her home to suit Derek’s needs when he is finally released from hospital, in the ITV documentary Finding Derek.
The programmed was praised by viewers for offering a heartbreaking look at the long-term effects of coronavirus.
Kate also revealed that Derek has ‘no muscle left’ since battling Covid
Kate revealed that Derek was finally allowed to leave hospital, but would require round-the-clock care once he was returned home.
Kate revealed that despite now being home with his family, his communication abilities were ‘minimal’ and he ‘couldn’t really move’
During an appearance on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories, Kate revealed that Derek had said ‘I love you’ for the first time.
After celebrating Christmas, Derek was also pictured in a wheelchair during a trip to the pantomime with his family
Kate revealed that Derek was ‘very fatigued’ and ‘very weak’ following the family outing, adding: ‘I don’t know what this year is going to bring.’
Kate offered a glimpse into the daily struggles of looking after her husband amid his battle with long Covid in the documentary Caring For Derek
She also revealed that Derek would die within three days if he was left alone to care for himself.
On July 6, Kate revealed that Derek had been re-admitted to hospital after suffering a ‘downturn,’ and in a later interview said she takes things ‘day by day.’
On July 20, it was reported that Kate had pulled out of hosting Good Morning Britain to be at Derek’s bedside after he took a ‘very serious’ turn for the worse.