A 12-year-old boy who was comatose in the United Kingdom has died after a lengthy legal battle ended with the determination that doctors could remove him from life support.
Archie Battersbee, 12, died at a London hospital around noon on Saturday, about two hours after doctors discontinued treating him. Young Archie has been in a coma since April 7, when he was initially found unconscious in the family’s home.
Ella Carter, the fiancée of Archie’s eldest brother, Tom, said the family watched the boy’s final moments.
“He went completely blue,” she said. “There is absolutely nothing dignified about watching a family member or a child suffocate. No family should ever have to go through what we’ve been through. It’s barbaric.”
Battersbee’s situation became the latest legal feud that pitted the will of parents against the advice of doctors.
His parents advocated for keeping their son alive by extending treatment or moving Archie to a hospice, while doctors said it was in Archie’s best interest to be taken off of life support.
Doctors at the Royal London Hospital argued Archie was brain-stem dead and should be allowed to die. They pushed to end the treatment that kept him alive, which included artificial respiration, medication to regulate his bodily functions and round-the-clock nursing care.
The hospital also testified that Archie’s condition was unstable and that moving him would hasten his death.
His family objected and said they would not give up hope.
On Friday, High Court Judge Lucy Theis sided with the doctors, against the parents’ wishes, ruling Archie should remain in the hospital and for his treatment to be withdrawn.
He died hours later.