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Mother of Archie Battersbee: ‘He fought until the very end’

© PAArchie Battersbee
Archie Battersbee

The grieving mother of Archie Battersbee said her 12-year-old son fought until the very end after he died in hospital yesterday.

Hollie Dance spoke outside the Royal London Hospital, in London, after the death of her son, who had been at the centre of a legal battle as his parents fought doctors’ decision to withdraw life support.

She said: “I would just like to say I am the proudest mum in the world. He was such a beautiful little boy. He fought right until the very end and I am so proud to be his mum.”

Her son had been in a coma since she found him unconscious at the family’s home in Southend, Essex, in April.

On Friday, she had spoken of the toll taken on her family as they fought to maintain life-prolonging care. She said: “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 treatment options and when she was asked if there was anything more she could do, Dance said: “No. I’ve done everything that I promised my little boy I’d do. And I’ve done it.”

Doctors, who had been keeping him alive with ventilation and drug treatments, had declared Archie to be brain-stem dead, and medical interventions were withdrawn at 10am yesterday after his mother and father, Paul Battersbee, failed in courtroom bids to overturn the decision. He died at 12.15pm.

© PA
Hollie Dance speaks outside the hospital yesterday

His parents had been fighting in the courts for treatment to continue in the hope he would recover, saying earlier this year that the youngster’s heart was still beating and he had gripped his mother’s hand.

A last-ditch plea to the European Court of Human Rights to intervene in the case was rejected late on Friday, following a High Court ruling that he could not be taken to a hospice but must remain at the hospital in Whitechapel.

Ella Rose Carter, the fiancé of Archie’s eldest brother, Tom, said he was taken off medication at 10am and his stats remained stable until midday when ventilation was removed.

She added: “There is absolutely nothing dignified about watching a family member or a child suffocate. We hope no family has to go through what we have been through. It’s barbaric.”

In a statement after Archie’s death, Barts Health NHS Trust said: “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.

“This tragic case not only affected the family and his carers but touched the hearts of many across the country.”

In a High Court ruling on Friday morning, Justice Theis concluded it was not in Archie’s best interests to be moved to a hospice and the Court of Appeal rejected permission to appeal that decision.

The family had wanted to challenge the High Court ruling by arguing there had been a violation of articles six and eight of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Article six is the right to a fair trial and article eight is the right to respect for private and family life.

The European court said it had received a request from representatives of Archie’s parents under Rule 39, which allow it to apply “interim measures” in “exceptional” cases, and that the complaints “fell outside the scope” of that rule, and so it would not intervene.

The Court of Appeal judges said Justice Theis’ ruling in the High Court dealt “comprehensively with each of the points raised on behalf of the parents”.

The judges said they had “reached the clear conclusion that each of her decisions was right for the reasons she gave”. They added: “It follows that the proposed appeal has no prospect of success and there is no other compelling reason for the Court of Appeal to hear an appeal.”