On June 13th, a British High Court judge gave permission to the Royal London Hospital to turn off life support for a 12-year-old boy who on April 7th was found unresponsive by his parents in their home. According to Daily Mail, the judge ruled that
Archie Battersbee is ‘likely’ to be ‘brain stem dead’ and should no longer be kept on life support—as his devastated mother vows ‘I will not give up my fight for my son.’
Doctors treating the boy “said they believed he was brain dead” and therefore should no longer be kept on a ventilator. The parents, on the other hand, think that with time and treatment, their son’s condition “could improve.”
Archie Battersbee was found with a ligature around his neck. Less than a month later, the Daily Mail reports, the Royal London Hospital filed a court request suggesting Archie was brain dead and asked to have a judge determine the boy’s future. While ruling in favor of the hospital, the judge determined May 31st to be the boy’s official day of death.
The Daily Record reports that Archie Battersbee’s mother, Hollie Dance, believes her son participated in a so-called blackout challenge. She has, the news outlet explains,
issued a desperate warning against taking part in online challenges after her young son has been left in an induced coma for eight weeks. Archie Battersbee’s family are worried that the schoolboy, aged 12, took part in the “blackout challenge” as they discovered him with a ligature over his head at their home.
Participants in the challenge urge each other to suffocate into unconsciousness. In July 2021, The Sun reported that the video-based social media Tik Tok is one of the platforms where the challenge takes place. In May this year, a mother in Pennsylvania sued Tik Tok in court after her 10-year-old daughter died while participating in the challenge.
Sven R. Larson is a political economist and author. He received a Ph.D. in Economics from Roskilde University, Denmark. Originally from Sweden, he lives in America where for the past 16 years he has worked in politics and public policy. He has written several books, including Democracy or Socialism: The Fateful Question for America in 2024.