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12-year-old Archie Battersbee dies after being taken off life support, says mum Hollie Dance

Written by Javed Iqbal

Archie Battersbee, a 12-year-old boy whose parents have fought to keep him on life support after he fell into a coma in April, died on Saturday morning after British courts decided to suspend treatment.

“It is with my deepest sympathies and sadness to tell you that Archie passed away at 12.15pm today,” his mother, Hollie Dance, said outside the hospital. “And may I just tell you, I am the proudest mother 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. The UK Supreme Court ruled last month that the hospital should suspend life-sustaining treatment, deeming it “futile”. His family sealed the decision to the Supreme Court and even asked the United Nations for support, but their appeals were rejected.

The family had asked for Battersbee to be transferred to a hospice, but the High Court ruled that he was too medically unstable. The proceedings were suspended after the Court of Appeal and the European Court of Human Rights declined to intervene.

“Such a beautiful little boy and he fought right to the end and I’m so proud to be his mum,” Dance said outside the Royal London Hospital in east London.

The case is one of several high-profile cases in recent years in which British courts have intervened when doctors and families disagree about the best course of treatment. Dominic Wilkinson, professor of medical ethics at the University of Oxford, previously told The New York Times that there had been 20 such cases in the UK in the last decade.

In this case, Battersbee’s doctors thought he was brain dead, while his family claimed he was doing better than the doctors claimed. The court eventually sided with the doctors, ruling that there was “no hope at all of recovery” and that continued treatment would serve “only to prolong his death while he was unable to prolong his life.”

Hollie Dance, mother of 12-year-old Archie Battersbee, speaks to the media outside the Royal London hospital in Whitechapel, east London.

James Manning – PA Photos

Supporters of the family made a tribute outside the hospital with candles in the shape of the letter A, according to The Guardian. Ella Carter, a family member, told the outlet it was “barbaric” to see Battersbee die.

“There is absolutely nothing dignified in watching a family member or child suffocate,” she said. “No family should ever have to go through what we’ve gone through.”

Alistair Chesser, chief medical officer for Barts Health NHS trust, said his “heartfelt condolences” remain with the family.

“This tragic case not only affected the family and his carers but touched the hearts of many across the country,” he said.

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Javed Iqbal

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