12-year-old British boy days after life support turned off



A London hospital on Saturday removed life support from 12-year-old British boy Archie Battersbee after his parents lost a long, emotional and divisive legal battle.

Archie’s mother, Hollie Dance, said her son died just over two hours after the mechanical ventilation was stopped.

“Such a beautiful little boy. I fought until the very end,” she said. told reporterssobbing, outside the Royal London Hospital.

“I’m the proudest mom in the world,” Dance said after spending the night by her bedside with other parents.

Dance found Archie unconscious at home in April with signs he had placed a noose around his neck, possibly after taking part in an online suffocation challenge.

At the entrance to the east London hospital, well-wishers laid flowers and cards, and lit candles in the shape of the letter ‘A’.

“My boy is 12, the same age as Archie, and that puts things into perspective,” said Shelley Elias, 43, after leaving her own offerings at the site earlier on Saturday.

“I didn’t know what to write because there are no words that will ease the pain,” she said.

In June, a judge agreed with doctors that Archie was “brain stem dead”, allowing life support to be discontinued, but the family fought in court to overturn that.

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Arguing that Archie could benefit from treatment in Italy or Japan, they took their case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, which this week refused to intervene.

The parents also lost a final legal bid to have Archie transferred to a hospice for his final hours.

“All legal avenues have been exhausted,” a spokesman for campaign group Christian Concern, which supports the family, said Friday evening.

“The family is devastated and spending precious time with Archie.”

“Charlie’s Law” –

The case is the latest in a series that has pitted parents against the UK legal and healthcare systems.

The involvement of groups such as Christian Concern to support desperate parents has drawn criticism for prolonging the pain for all concerned.

These groups often work to their own agendas, according to Dominic Wilkinson, professor of medical ethics at the University of Oxford.

“They may have different political or other views (and) have reasons for wanting to tell parents things which may not be accurate,” he said on Sky.

After a very charged battle between the hospital and his parents, 23-month-old Alfie Evans died in April 2018 when medics in Liverpool, northwest England, removed life support.

Her parents had the support of Pope Francis to take her to a clinic in Rome, but lost a final appeal in court days before her death.

Charlie Gard, born in August 2016 with a rare form of mitochondrial disease that causes progressive muscle weakness, died a week before his first birthday after doctors removed life support.

His parents had fought a five-month legal battle to have Charlie taken to the United States for experimental treatment, drawing support from then-US President Donald Trump and evangelical groups.

Parents have pushed the UK government to pass ‘Charlie’s Law’, a proposed law that would strengthen parents’ rights in disputes over the treatment of their children.

“The whole system has been stacked against us,” Archie’s mother, Dance, said on Friday, with many on social media also questioning her actions and the family’s fundraising.

“Reform must now go through Charlie’s Law so that no parent has to go through it.”

by Jitendra Joshi