The family of Archie Battersbee, who was left in a coma after performing a challenge on Tik Tok, confirmed on Saturday (6) the boy’s death after an intense court battle in the UK to try to keep him in life support treatment. The 12-year-old boy spent four months in a coma and died at 12:15 pm London time (8:15 am GMT), about two hours after the hospital began withdrawing treatment.
British courts rejected the family’s request to transfer Archie to an institution where he could die “naturally” as they wished, and the European Court of Human Rights for a second time refused to intervene in the case. “He fought to the end,” said Archie’s mother Hollie Dance, crying outside the hospital. “I am the proudest mother in the world.”
The boy suffered severe brain damage after attempting a Tik Tok challenge and doctors recommended turning off support devices. Archie’s care became the subject of weeks of legal wrangling as his parents tried to force the hospital to continue life-sustaining treatments and doctors argued there was no chance of recovery.
Previous British court rulings agreed with the doctor’s recommendation but extended the deadline to allow parents to file new appeals. During the trial, Paul Battersbee, Archie’s father, fell ill and had to be taken to the hospital.
The family asked permission to transfer Archie to a psychiatric hospital after British courts ruled that it was in their best interests to end treatment. The hospital said Archie’s condition was so unstable that moving him would hasten his death.
Last Friday, Supreme Court Justice Lucy Theis rejected the family’s request, saying Archie should remain in the hospital while treatment was withdrawn.
“I go back to where I started, acknowledging the enormity of what lies ahead for Archie’s parents and family. Their unconditional love and dedication to Archie is a golden thread running through this case,” Thies wrote in his decision. “I hope that now Archie can have the opportunity to die in peaceful circumstances, with the family that meant as much to him as he clearly does to them.”
The dispute is the latest UK case that pits doctors’ judgment against families’ wishes. Under British law, it is common for the courts to intervene when parents and doctors disagree about a child’s medical treatment. In such cases, the best interests of the child take precedence over the parents’ right to decide what they believe is best for their children.
Tik Tok Challenge
Archie Battersbee was found by his mother seriously injured and with an object around his neck at the family’s home on April 7, according to court documents. The boy was taken to hospital, where doctors found severe brain damage.
Hollie Dance said she believes the boy suffocated while attempting a viral online challenge known as the “Blackout Challenge”. Other children died or were seriously injured after watching the challenge on Tik Tok, according to a lawsuit filed in May by Nylah Anderson’s mother. The 10-year-old girl was found by her mother hanging in the closet, almost dead, in December last year, in the city of Chester, Pennsylvania (USA). Known as a fun child, Nylah died in a hospital five days later.
In the process, four deaths of children between 10 and 14 years old, from different places in the world, are still cited. Like Nylah, Archie Batersbee was a brilliant kid who made an impact wherever he went, according to his family.
In an interview with the Washington Post at the time of Nylah’s lawsuit, a Tik Tok spokesperson stated that the “disturbing challenge predates the platform and was never a TikTok trend.”