British boy, 12, dies hours after taken off life support after parents lose legal battle to keep him alive

A 12-year-old British child, Archie Battersbee, was removed from life support and left to die on Saturday after his family lost a legal battle to keep him alive.

“He was taken off medication at 10:00 am and his stats remained stable until two hours later when they removed the ventilation. And then he went completely blue,” Ella Rose Carter, the fiancé of Archie’s eldest brother Tom, told reporters outside the hospital after his death.

“There is absolutely nothing dignified about watching a family member or a child suffocate. We hope no family has to go through what we have been through. It’s barbaric.”

Battersbee’s mother, Hollie Dance, added that she was “the proudest mum in the world” and that her son was “such a beautiful little boy, and he fought right until the very end, and I am so proud to be his mum.”

After speaking to reporters, Carter and Dance then “collapsed into each other’s arms, cried, hugged and walked slowly back into the hospital,” according to Sky News.

Battersbee had “been at the center of a lengthy legal dispute” ever since he was critically injured “in an incident at his home” back in April.

He’d specifically been in a coma, with doctors at the Royal London Hospital claiming he was “brain-stem dead” and arguing that removing life support would be the best option.

The family disagreed.

“[H]is parents [had] wanted the treatment to continue, saying earlier this year that the youngster’s heart was still beating and that he had gripped his mother’s hand,” according to Sky News.

How would this have been possible for someone who was “brain-stem dead?” Because Battersbee apparently hadn’t necessarily also been brain dead, though all signs had pointed to him being so.

The legal battle eventually reached the European Court of Human Rights, which on Wednesday refused to intervene.

“The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) rejected an urgent legal application from the parents of 12-year-old Archie Battersbee Wednesday to delay the removal of their son’s life support,” The Christian Post reported Thursday.

Following that rejection, the family tried one more thing: Appealing to a U.K. high court asking for permission to relocate Battersbee to a hospice. They’d reportedly received offers for help from doctors in Japan and Italy.

However, on Friday the high court rejected them as well.

“An hours-long High Court hearing took place yesterday, with the court in London sitting until late in the evening, after the 12-year-old’s parents filed a last-ditch application over allowing them to move him to a hospice,” The Echo, a paper out of Essex, reported.

“His mum Hollie Dance, from Southend, has vowed to ‘fight to the end’ with the bid to have him transferred to die in a hospice ‘with dignity.’ However, the High Court has ruled Archie cannot be moved to a hospice to die.”

“Their unconditional love and dedication to Archie is a golden thread that runs through this case. I hope now Archie can be afforded the opportunity for him to die in peaceful circumstances, with the family who meant so much to him as he clearly does to them,” the court said.

And thus Battersbee was effectively sentenced to death.

Critics say this is another example — a particularly grim one — of government forsaking parents’ rights for the so-called “greater good.”

But defenders of the decision to remove life support argue that there really wasn’t any other option — that Battersbee’s body had been effectively decomposing.


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