The British boy Archie Battersbee, who had spent four months in a coma for his alleged participation in a viral challenge, died this Saturday, just hours after the machines that kept him alive were disconnected. The withdrawal of life support finally took place this morning, after a bitter legal battle dominated by the limits of medicine, legal ethics and family responsibility. His parents have stated that the 12-year-old boy “fought to the end.” Until Friday night, the family had maintained a legal fight against the London hospital where Archie has been admitted this time, but all avenues of justice, the parents had no choice but to assume that the ventilator and the drugs he received would be withdrawn, against his will, at the Royal London Hospital, where the little boy had been transferred on April 8, one day after having been found unconscious by his mother. His last cartridge, asking the European Court of Human Rights to protect them in their desire to take Archie to a palliative care center so that he could be disconnected there, was not even considered by the Strasbourg court, that it considered that the petition “exceeded” its jurisprudence. This Friday, the Superior Court had already denied the transfer of the minor, based on medical reports, and the Court of Appeals refused to authorize the parents to appeal, which ended a judicial journey that lasted for two months, since in June the doctors will seek judicial authorization to disconnect the little one. The campaign led by the family, led especially by the mother, Hollie Dance, has captured the attention of a country for weeks where, in recent years, similar cases had already polarized a delicate debate between the confines of compassion and the responsibility of the system in protecting the most vulnerable. This Friday night, after learning that life support would finally be withdrawn this Saturday morning, Dance said she felt “broken”, after months in which she acknowledged “not having had a day that was not horrible.” The judge herself of the Superior Court that this Friday denied the transfer of the child to a hospital for the terminally ill had words especially considered towards the family’s struggle, whom he recognized for the “unconditional love and dedication” they had shown throughout the case. The mother also seemed to have reached a certain peace with her behavior, once all the legal margin had been extinguished to avoid the dreaded trance that she finally had to go through this Saturday: “I have done everything that I promised my little one that would do. And I have.” His intention now is to keep Archie’s legacy alive, actively supporting his campaign to demand a comprehensive reform of the legislation to restructure a legal and ethical framework that, in his opinion, has failed his son, by not giving him “the opportunity” to live. According to a spokeswoman for Christian Concern, an organization with a marked Christian influence that has supported the family in recent months, just as the Christian Legal Center has done in the legal dispute, Archie’s environment is “devastated” and He has dedicated every minute, since he knew it was the end until his death this Saturday, to “spend invaluable time” with the little one. This time has been spent, finally and against the will of the parents, in the Royal London Hospital. If the main legal war had been to prevent the withdrawal of life support, the last few days had led to a confrontation over where the child would be in his last hours. The family’s acrimony towards the center’s managers and staff had increased dramatically in recent weeks, with parents speaking directly of “broken trust” at the Royal London Hospital. Hence his intention to take him to a hospital for the terminally ill, ultimately vetoed by the judge of the Superior Court, who protected this Friday the position of the health authorities, who opposed citing the risk that a transfer, even if it were short, would entail for the child’s already critical condition. Archie’s condition was so unstable that simply moving him in the hospital bed, as part of daily care, was dangerous, so there was a certain chance that the little boy would die in the middle of the transfer. His brain stem was considered clinically dead, as a result of the lack of oxygen caused by the viral challenge in which he is believed to have participated when, on April 7, the injury occurred that ultimately ended his death. life. Parents believe it was the so-called fainting challenge on TikTok. The initiative, like so many that circulate on the video social network, is extremely dangerous, since it involves suffocating until losing consciousness. In the United States, in fact, it has already caused the death of two girls, whose parents have denounced the platform. The families believe that the algorithm used by the social network offers lethal content for minors, but from TikTok they allege that many of these viral challenges already existed and ensure that, in any case, they eliminate content that incites harmful behavior and hashtags that promote them.
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