A UK boy at the center 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 all the way to the United Nations and the European Court of Human Rights.
But doctors and courts argued that Battersbee was “brain stem dead” and that further efforts to keep him alive were “futile”.
He died shortly after noon 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.
Since then he has been in charge of the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel.
The tragic case has gripped the nation, with every legal action covered widely in the media. With the help of the Christian Legal Center, his parents exhausted all available legal avenues to keep him on life support.
In June, a High Court judge ruled that Battersbee was “dead” based on MRI scans. But his parents appealed and won a new hearing in the case, as Mr the BBC reported.
In July, three Court of Appeal judges agreed with the original ruling, which said the boy’s life support could be ended. The country’s Supreme Court upheld the decision later that month.
Battersbee’s parents then wrote to the United Nations, whose committee asked the UK government to continue life support while it looked into the case.
But the Court of Appeal rejected the request.
During the legal battle, in which Battersbee’s parents made further appeals in the UK courts, judges continued to uphold the original High Court decision.
In August, the European Court of Human Rights told the family it could not accept a request to suspend life support.
A last-ditch attempt to move Battersbee into a hospice also failed because of the “great and unpredictable risks” associated with moving him.
Following his death on Saturday, the boy’s mother said: “It is with deepest sympathy and sadness that I tell you that Archie passed away at 12.15 today.
“And I can just tell you that I am the proudest mom in the entire world.
“Such a beautiful little boy and he fought to the end and I’m so proud to be his mum.”
Barts Health NHS Trust, which operates the Royal London Hospital, he said in a statement: “Members of his family were present at the bedside and our thoughts and deepest 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 his family and carers, but has touched the hearts of many across the country.”