Boy at heart of UK court battle dies after life support ends

LONDON  — A 12-year-old boy who had been in a coma for four months died Saturday at a London hospital after doctors ended the life-sustaining treatment his family had fought to continue.

Archie Battersbee’s mother, Hollie Dance, said her son died at 12:15 p.m., about two hours after the hospital began withdrawing treatment. British courts had rejected both the family’s effort to extend treatment and a request to move Archie to a hospice, saying neither move was in the child’s best interests.

“I’m the proudest mum in the world,″ Dance said as she stood outside the hospital and wept. “Such a beautiful little boy and he fought right until the very end.″

The legal battle is the latest in a series of very public British cases in which parents and doctors have sparred over who is better qualified to make decisions about a child’s medical care. That has sparked a debate about whether there’s a more appropriate way to settle such disagreements away from the courts.

Archie was found unconscious at home with a ligature over his head on April 7. His parents believe he may have been taking part in an online challenge that went wrong.

Doctors concluded Archie was brain-stem dead soon after the accident and sought to end the long list of treatments that kept him alive, including artificial respiration, medication to regulate his bodily functions and round-the-clock nursing care. But his family objected, claiming Archie had shown signs of life and wouldn’t have wanted them to give up hope.