Archie Battersbee, a 12-year-old boy whose parents fought to keep him on life support after he fell into a coma in April, died on Saturday morning after UK courts decided to suspend treatment.
“It is with my deepest sympathy and sadness to announce that Archie passed away at 12:15 p.m. today,” his mother, Hollie Dance, said from outside the hospital. “And can I just tell you that I am the proudest mom in the whole world.”
Dance and Battersbee’s father had been fighting to keep the boy alive since he was discovered unconscious at home on April 7 with severe brain damage. Britain’s High Court ruled last month that the hospital should suspend life-saving treatments, deeming them “unnecessary”. His family sealed the decision in the Supreme Court and even asked for help from the UN, but their appeals were denied.
The family had asked for Battersbee to be moved to a hospice, but the High Court ruled he was too medically unstable. The treatment was suspended after the Court of Appeal and the European Court of Human Rights declined to intervene.
“Such a beautiful little boy and he fought until the very end and I’m so proud to be his mum,” Dance said from outside the Royal London Hospital in east London.
The case is one of several high-profile cases in recent years where UK courts have intervened when doctors and families disagree over the best treatment. Dominic Wilkinson, professor of medical ethics at Oxford University, previously told The New York Times that there have been 20 such cases in the UK over the past decade.
In this case, Battersbee’s doctors believed he was brain dead, while his family maintained that he was better than the doctors claimed. The court ultimately sided with the doctors, ruling that there was ‘no hope of recovery’ and that further treatment would ‘only serve to prolong his death, while being unable to prolong his life. “.
Family supporters paid their respects outside the hospital with candles in the shape of the letter A, according to The Guardian. Ella Carter, a family member, told the outlet that watching Battersbee die was “barbaric”.
“There is absolutely nothing dignified about watching a family member or a child suffocate,” she said. “No family should ever have to go through what we went through.”
Alistair Chesser, chief medical officer of Barts Health NHS trust, said his “sincere condolences” remain with the family.
“This tragic case not only affected the family and their caregivers, but touched the hearts of many people across the country,” he said.