A U.K. boy who’s been the focus of an international legal battle has died hours after his life support was switched off.
The parents of Archie Battersbee, 12, who suffered severe brain injuries in April, have been trying to keep him on life support for weeks, taking the case as far as the United Nations and the European Court of Human Rights.
But doctors, and courts, argued Battersbee was “brain stem dead” and that further efforts to keep him alive were “futile.”
He died just after midday on Saturday, almost exactly four months after he was found unconscious at home. His parents, Peter Battersbee and Hollie Dance, believe he may have been taking part in a social media challenge at the time.
He has been in the care of the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel ever since.
The tragic case has gripped the nation, with each legal appeal covered widely in the media. Assisted by the Christian Legal Centre, his parents exhausted available legal routes to keep him on life support.
Back in June, a High Court judge ruled Battersbee was “dead” on the basis of MRI scans. But his parents appealed and won a new hearing on the case, as the BBC reported.
In July, three Court of Appeals judges agreed with original ruling, that found life support for the boy could end. The country’s Supreme Court supported the ruling later that month.
Next, Battersbee’s parents wrote to the United Nations, a committee of which asked the U.K. government to continue life support while it considered the case.
But the Court of Appeals refused the request.
During the legal battle, in which Battersbee’s parents made further appeals to U.K. courts, judges continued to side with the original High Court decision.
In August, the European Court of Human Rights told the family it could not accept an application to postpone life support.
A last attempt to move Battersbee to a hospice also failed due the “major and unpredictable risks” associated with moving him.
After his death on Saturday, the boy’s mother said: “It’s with my deepest sympathy and sadness to tell you Archie passed at 12.15 today.
“And can I just tell you, I’m the proudest mum in the whole world.
“Such a beautiful little boy and he fought right until the very end and I’m so proud to be his mum.”
Barts Health NHS Trust, which operates the Royal London Hospital, said in a statement: “Members of his family were present at the bedside and our thoughts and heartfelt condolences remain with them at this difficult time.
“The trust would like to thank the medical, nursing and support staff in the paediatric intensive care department who looked after Archie.
“This tragic case not only affected the family and his carers but touched the hearts of many across the country.”