Archie Battersbee, who suffered 'devastating' brain damage, has died after his life support machines were turned off. This is reported by the British broadcasters Sky News, BBC and the newspaper "Daily Mail". He died at 12:15 p.m. (local time) on Saturday, his mother Hollie Dance said. According to the broadcaster Sky News, she stood in front of the hospital and said she was the "proudest mother in the world". She added that Archie "fought to the end." The mother had announced on Friday that the equipment should be turned off on Saturday morning.
Archie has been in a coma since April. He suffered serious brain injuries in an accident at home in Southend-on-Sea, possibly during an internet dare. The treating doctors see no chance of recovery.
The parents had long fought for Archie to prevent the devices from being switched off. Britain's highest court had backed the doctors' decision to let Archie die. It is in the boy's best interest.
Archie's parents then tried to get Archie transferred to a hospice so that their son could spend his final hours in a quieter, more peaceful environment. However, the hospital refused because of his unstable condition. The Court of Appeal in London upheld the decision, saying it was in Archie's best interest for life support to be withdrawn in the hospital rather than in a different environment, the judge said.
The Court of Appeal in London on Friday evening rejected an application by which the family wanted to be transferred to a hospice after an initial defeat in court. .
A final appeal by the parents to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg was also unsuccessful.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) in Strasbourg, which the parents had brought in, said on Friday evening that the request to move Archie to a hospice does not fall within its jurisdiction. A spokesman for Christian Concern, a Christian organization that supports Archie's family, told Sky News TV: "All legal avenues have been exhausted. The family is devastated and spending a lot of time with Archie."
The legal tug-of-war in the Archie case was even an issue in the Vatican. An opinion piece appeared on the official Vatican platform "Vatican News" arguing against the shutdown of the devices in the Archie case. A society must protect life - and also the weak and fragile - it says.
The case is reminiscent of similar disputes over terminally ill children in Great Britain. The financially squeezed British health service tends to withdraw life support much sooner than would be the case in Germany. In addition, the wishes of parents and relatives are not taken into account to the same extent. What is in the best interests of the patient is often decided by judges on the recommendation of medical professionals.