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Manchester Evening News
Manchester Evening News
Thomas George

A case that broke a nation's hearts: Archie Battersbee dies after parents lose fight to save son

It is the case that broke the hearts of a nation. After almost four months in a coma and a legal battle between his parents and doctors, Archie Battersbee has died.

The 12-year-old's heartbroken mother Hollie Dance struggled to fight back the tears as she announced the tragic news of his death outside the Royal London Hospital this afternoon. Since finding her son unconscious back in April, she has lived every parent's worst nightmare.

Jus months ago, Archie was an active boy who loved martial arts and gymnastics. But that all changed when an incident at his home in Southend, Essex, left him with a catastrophic brain injury.

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Ms Dance has previously said she believes he may have been attempting to take part in a dangerous social media challenge. Archie was rushed to hospital and put on life support but never regained consciousness.

All that was keeping him alive was a combination of medical interventions, including ventilation and drug treatments.

While Ms Dance and Archie's father Paul Battersbee wanted him to be transferred to a hospice, doctors argued that continued life-support treatment was not in his best interests as he was 'brain-stem dead'. Archie's life support was withdrawn this morning and he died at 12.15pm.

Loved ones wept as they stood outside the hospital and announced Archie's death to the media this afternoon. Ms Dance declared herself "the proudest mum in the world", adding: "He was such a beautiful little boy. He fought right until the very end and I am so proud to be his mum."

Hollie Dance fought back the tears as she announced that Archie had died (PA)

The tragic case has touched the hearts of millions across the UK as Archie's parents fought a long-running legal battle over the withdrawal of treatment. In recent days his family made bids to the High Court, Court of Appeal and European Court of Human Rights to have him transferred to a hospice insisting they should be allowed to choose where he takes his last moments.

In a High Court ruling on Friday morning, Mrs Justice Theis concluded it was not in Archie's best interests to be moved and the Court of Appeal rejected permission to appeal that decision hours later. Following the ruling, campaign group Christian Concern, which is supporting Archie’s family, said that 'all legal routes have been exhausted'.

In light of the news, supporters of the family brought flowers to the hospital on Saturday morning. 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.

A woman lights candles outside the hospital where Archie Battersbee died (PA)

It was created by passers-by who said they wanted to show their support. Alistair Chesser, chief medical officer at 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.”

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