A London hospital on Saturday withdrew life sup-port for 12-year-old British boy Archie Battersbee after his parents lost a long, emotive and divisive legal battle.
Archie’s mother, Hollie Dance, said her son passed away just over two hours after the artificial ventilation was stopped.
“Such a beautiful little boy. He fought right until the very end,” she told reporters, sobbing, outside the Royal London Hospital. “I’m the proudest mum in the world,” Dance said, after spending the night at his bedside with other relatives.
One of these, Ella Carter, denounced Archie’s final moments as “barbaric”, however. She said that after his ventilation was switched off, “he went com-pletely blue”.
“There is absolutely nothing dignified about watching a family member or a child suffocate,” she said.
Dance found Archie unconscious at home in April with signs he had placed a cord around his neck, possibly after taking part in an online as-phyxiation challenge.
The hospital trust’s chief medical officer, Alistair Chesser, said in a statement that “Archie died after treatment was withdrawn in line with court rulings about his best interests”.
Chesser thanked the medical staff who cared for Archie, saying they “provided high quality care with extraordinary compassion over several months in often trying and distressing circumstances”.
At the entrance to the hospital in east London, well-wishers left flowers and cards, and lit candles in the shape of the letter “A”.
“My boy is 12, the same age as Archie, and this just puts things in perspective,” Shelley Elias, 43, said after leaving her own offerings at the site earlier Saturday.
“I did not know what to write because there are no words that will take the pain away,” she said. A judge in June agreed with doctors that Archie was “brain-stem dead”, allowing life support to be dis-continued, but the family fought through the courts to overturn that.—AFP