Archie Battersbee dies in hospital after life support withdrawn
Archie Battersbee's fight for life has finally come to an end, as Chloe Keedy of ITV News reports
Archie Battersbee has died in hospital after weeks of legal battles.
The 12-year-old had been in a coma since he was found unconscious by his mother Hollie Dance in April and was being kept alive by a combination of medical interventions, including ventilation and drug treatments.
Speaking outside the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London, Ms Dance said her "beautiful little boy" died at 12.15pm on Saturday.
'I'm the proudest mum in the world', Archie's mum said
In a statement, Barts Health NHS Trust said: "Archie Battersbee passed away on Saturday afternoon at The Royal London Hospital after treatment was withdrawn in line with court rulings about his best interests.
"Members of his family were present at the bedside and our thoughts and heartfelt condolences remain with them at this difficult time.
"The trust would like to thank the medical, nursing and support staff in the paediatric intensive care department who looked after Archie following his awful accident.
"They provided high quality care with extraordinary compassion over several months in often trying and distressing circumstances.
"This tragic case not only affected the family and his carers but touched the hearts of many across the country."
Archie’s parents had fought a long-running legal battle over the withdrawal of treatment and in recent days made bids to the High Court, Court of Appeal and European Court of Human Rights to have him transferred to a hospice to die.
Announcing her son’s death to the media, Ms Dance, of Southend, Essex, said "he fought right until the very end".
Speaking through tears, she said: "I’m the proudest mum in the world.
"He was such a beautiful little boy and he fought right until the very end, and I am so proud to be his mum."
In an interview with Sky News, recorded on Friday, Ms Dance said she was "pretty broken" and that the day had been "absolutely awful".
Breaking down, she said: "The last however many weeks since 7 April, I don’t think there’s been a day that hasn’t been awful really."
Ms Dance added: "It’s been really hard. Despite the hard strong face and appearance obviously in front of the cameras up until now, I’ve been pretty broken."
She said the hospital had made it clear there were no more options and that life support would be withdrawn at 10am on Saturday.
Asked if there was anything more she could do, Ms Dance said: "No. I’ve done everything that I promised my little boy I’d do. And I’ve done it."
Supporters brought flowers to the hospital on Saturday morning.
Shelley Elias, 43, said she had come to the Royal London Hospital because "I wanted his mum Hollie and the family to know I was thinking of them".
Mrs Elias, a mother of two from Stepney, east London, who said she vaguely knew Archie’s mother, brought flowers, a card and some candles.
She said: "I did not know what to write because there are no words that will take the pain away.
"I just wanted the mum and her family to know that I am here for them. My boy is 12, the same age as Archie, and this just puts things in perspective.
"When things like this happen, you just think ‘I have nothing to moan about in life’."
Candles flickered in the shape of the letter "A" and also formed a love heart around a card with Archie’s name in a makeshift tribute at a statue in front of the hospital.It was created by passers-by who said they wanted to show their support.
Archie Battersbee timeline
Archie Battersbee - The story of a four-month court battle
Archie Battersbee - The story of a four-month court battle
7 April - Hollie Dance finds Archie unconscious in their home in Southend, Essex, with a ligature over his head. She believes he was taking part in an online challenge.
8 April - Archie is moved to the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, east London.
26 April - Barts Health Trust, which runs the Royal London Hospital, starts High Court proceedings to run brain stem tests. Hollie Dance urges judge Mrs Justice Arbuthnot to not approve the brain stem tests to "give him [Archie] time to fight back".
13 May - Mrs Justice Arbuthnot rules brain stem tests should be carried out
16 May -Two specialists at Royal London Hospital try to conduct brain stem tests but are unable to do so as Archie fails to respond to peripheral nerve stimulation test.
25 May - A hearing is held to decide if further MRI scans should be conducted. Ms Dance and Paul Battersbee, Archie's father, do not consent as they fear moving Archie will cause him harm.
27 May - Court approves that further MRI scans should be conducted.
31 May - MRI scans conducted.
6-8 June - Court hearing held to decide if Archie's life support treatment should continue. Specialists say it is highly likely that Archie is "brain stem dead", and that tests conducted showed no discernible brain activity, revealing "significant areas of tissue necrosis". A doctor for the family tells the court he knows of cases where people diagnosed as being dead by "neurological criteria" have been proven to be alive.
13 June 2022 - Mrs Justice Arbuthnot rules that Archie is dead based on MRI scan results. "I find that Archie died at noon on Monday 31 May 2022, which was shortly after the MRI scans taken that day," she rules. Archie's family immediately indicate they will apply for permission to appeal the decision.
20 June - The family mount an appeal to the same judge, arguing that evidence had not shown “beyond reasonable doubt” that the youngster was dead. Mrs Justice Arbuthnot agrees that the family have a "compelling" case and the matter is sent to the Court of Appeal.
29 June - Three Court of Appeal judges uphold the family's appeal, and order a fresh hearing to take place at the High Court in front of a different judge.
11 July - The new hearing begins in the High Court before Mr Justice Hayden. Doctors treating Archie at Royal London Hospital argue that continuing the treatment will only "delay the inevitable".
15 July - Mr Justice Hayden concludes that doctors can lawfully stop providing life-support treatment, calling the medical evidence "compelling and unanimous". He adds: "There are unfortunately no treatments possible to reverse the damage that has been caused to Archie's brain." Once again, Archie's family say they will appeal the decision.
25 July - Three Court of Appeal judges hear the appeal, but back Mr Justice Hayden's ruling that treatment can end as it is in Archie's best interests. A stay is put in place for Archie's treatment to continue until 2pm on 27 July.
27 July - As the stay expires, Archie's family are given a further 24 hours to appeal to European Court of Human Rights. However, they say that court has a "track record" of rejecting cases such as Archie's and instead want to go to the United Nations. They apply to the Supreme Court to be allowed to appeal to the UN.
28 July - Supreme Court judges refuse to intervene, and support the Court of Appeal ruling that Royal London Hospital can withdraw life support treatment lawfully.
29 July - Archie's family make an application to the UN, under a protocol which allows individuals and families to make complaints about violation of disabled people's rights).
30 July - The UN issues the UK government's legal department with a request so that it has time to consider Archie's case.
31 July - The UK government asks the High Court to delay the withdrawal of treatment so that the UN has time to consider the case.
1 August - A last-minute hearing organised at the request of the health secretary. Lawyers representing Archie's parents say unless the withdrawal of life support treatment is postponed, the court would be "complicit" in "flagrant breach of international law". But Court of Appeal judges refuses to postpone the withdrawal of life-support, extending it only until midday on Tuesday, 2 August. The most senior family judge in the country says the UN convention is an "unconventional international treaty and is not part of UK law", and that it continues to be in Archie's best interests to stop treatment.
2 August - Archie’s parents are refused permission to appeal against the latest ruling at the Supreme Court. Ms Dance says Barts Health NHS Trust will begin to withdraw Archie’s life support on August 3 at 11am unless the family have submitted an application to the European Court of Human Rights by 9am that day. The trust will not begin removing life-support until all legal issues have been resolved.
3 August - The European Court of Human Rights refuses the last-ditch application. Archie’s family say they intend to ask the High Court to allow the schoolboy to be moved to a hospice.
4 August - Nearly four months after Archie suffered traumatic head injuries, his parents formally lodge High Court proceedings over the move to hospice care – something the hospital opposes. Archie’s care continues. A hearing takes place at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, lasting late into the evening.
5 August - Mrs Justice Theis rules it is not in Archie’s best interests to be moved to a hospice. The High Court judge refuses the family permission to appeal against her ruling, granting a stay on the withdrawal of Archie’s treatment until 2pm on Friday to allow them to go directly to the Court of Appeal.
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