The mother of the 12-year-old Archie Battersbee announced her son's death on Saturday after his life support was withdrawn due to a High Court ruling, saying he “fought right until the very end,” but a family friend called the process “barbaric.”
Archie, who had been hospitalized on life support at Royal London Hospital since his mother found him unconscious with a ligature around his neck at her home in Essex in April, died at 12:15 p.m. local time on Saturday, The Telegraph reported.
His mother, Hollie Dance, announced her son’s death as she walked out of the hospital in Whitechapel.
“It is with my deepest sympathy and sadness to tell you all that Archie passed … today,” she was quoted as saying. “I would just like to say I am the proudest mom in the world. He was such a beautiful little boy. He fought right until the very end, and I am so proud to be his mom.”
By Friday, the boy’s parents had exhausted all legal options in their fight to keep him alive or moved to a hospice.
The High Court ruled Friday that his parents could not move him from the hospital to a hospice center, saying it was not in Archie’s best interest.
After Archie’s parents were denied permission to appeal the High Court’s decision by the Court of Appeal, they applied to the European Court of Human Rights on Friday, but the ECHR said it would not intervene in the case.
A family friend, Ella Carter, who supported Dance throughout the family’s legal battles over Archie’s medical care, said the process was “barbaric.”
“He was taken off all medication at 10 a.m. and his life stats remained completely stable for two hours until they removed all ventilation and he went completely blue,” The Times quoted her as saying. “There is absolutely nothing dignified about watching a family member or a child suffocate. No family should have to go through what we’ve been through — it’s barbaric.”
Dance earlier said she believed her son’s condition was the result of a TikTok challenge.
While doctors diagnosed Archie as brain-stem dead, his parents insisted that was not so. Dance elaborated on her belief in a video released earlier by the Christian Legal Centre, which represented the parents in litigation. “He’s held my hand. I’ve got video of him gripping two fingers,” she said at the time.
“If Archie is denied oxygen if and when life-support is removed I will continue to give him oxygen,” Dance said in a statement to Christian Concern last week. “If they refuse permission for us to take him to a hospice and for him to receive palliative oxygen it will simply be inhumane and nothing about Archie’s ‘dignity.’”
In an interview with Times Radio on Thursday, Dance said she wanted Archie to “spend his last moments” with his family in private away from the noise and disturbances at the hospital.
“We can’t even have the chance to be in a room together as a family without nurses,” she told Times Radio. “There’s absolutely no privacy, which is why, again, the courts keep going on about this dignified death — why aren’t we allowed to take our child to a hospice and spend his last moments, his last days together privately? Why is the hospital obstructing it?”
Article 10 of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of People With Disabilities declares: “States Parties reaffirm that every human being has the inherent right to life and shall take all necessary measures to ensure its effective enjoyment by persons with disabilities on an equal basis with others.” According to Article 12, “persons with disabilities have the right to recognition everywhere as persons before the law.”
Article 6 of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Children states that “States Parties recognize that every child has the inherent right to life” and that “States Parties shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the survival and development of the child.”
For its part, the U.K. government has maintained that the U.N. injunction was “not binding.”