A UK boy who was the focus of an international legal battle has died hours after his life support was switched off.
The parents of 12-year-old Archie Battersbee, who suffered serious 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 the person.
But the doctors and the courts insisted that Battersbee was “brain dead” and that other attempts to keep him alive were “futile”.
He died just after midday on Saturday, almost 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.
It has been under the care of the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel ever since.
The tragic case has gripped the nation, and every legal appeal has been widely covered in the media. With the help of the Christian Law Center, his parents used all available legal means to keep him on life support.
In June, a High Court judge ruled that Battersbee was “dead” on the basis of MRI scans. But his parents appealed and won a new hearing on the case, as reported by the BBC.
In July, three judges in the Court of Appeal agreed with the first ruling that found life support for the boy could end. The country’s Supreme Court upheld the ruling later that month.
Battersbee’s parents then wrote to the United Nations, a committee that asked the UK government to continue life support while the case was being assessed.
But the Court of Appeal rejected the application.
During the legal battle, in which Battersbee’s parents made further appeals to the courts of the United Kingdom, the judges continued to side with the original decision of the High Court.
In August, the European Court of Human Rights told the family that it could not accept a request to suspend life support.
A last-ditch effort to move Battersbee to a hospice also failed because of the “significant and unpredictable risks” involved in moving him.
After his death on Saturday, the boy’s mother said: “It is with my deepest sympathy and condolences that Archie passed away at 12.15 today.
“And can I tell you, I am the proudest mother in the whole world.
“Such a beautiful little boy and he fought right to the end and I am so proud to be his mother.”
Barts Health NHS Trust, which operates the Royal London Hospital, said in a statement: “Members of his family were present at his bedside and our thoughts and condolences remain with them at this difficult time.
“The trust would like to thank the medical, nursing and support staff in the pediatric intensive care unit who looked after Archie.
“This tragic case has not only affected the family and his carers but has touched the hearts of many across the country.”