Monday, April 23, 2018

“I’m still fighting for him, I’m still fighting, and so is Alfie.” —Tom Evans, 21, father of Alfie Evans, today in Liverpool, England. Alfie was scheduled to be removed from his life-supporting breathing tube today, but the removal was postponed after it was announced that the Italian government, at the last moment, had grated Alfie Italian citizenship

Alfie Still Alive… And He Has Been Granted Italian Citizenship

Little Alfie Evans is still alive as of this writing.

His respiration tubes had been scheduled to be removed this afternoon, leading to his death due to asphyxiation within minutes.

But, in a startling development, Alfie, at the last moment, was granted Italian citizenship by the Italian government — evidently with input from Pope Francis and other Vatican authorities.

Now, Italian government authorities are expected to ask British authorities to permit Alfie, their “new Italian citizen,” to leave the Liverpool hospital — where he has been in intensive care for more than a year — to be returned to his “home country.”

So it now seems possible that Alfie may soon be released from the Liverpool hospital where he is and transported by air to the Bambino Gesu (“The Baby Jesus”) Pediatric Hospital in Rome, which has expressed its willingness to care for Alfie, and to explore whether there may not be some as yet untried therapy that may help the little boy, whose condition has been characterized by doctors as “incurable,” to recover.

This case is being watched closely around the world, especially by those concerned about the protection of parents’ rights to make decisions about the health care of their children.

Here is a BBC report on these latest developments, published a few minutes ago:

Alfie Evans granted Italian citizenship in life-support legal row

Alfie Evans is in a “semi-vegetative state” in Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

Terminally ill toddler Alfie Evans has been granted Italian citizenship, the Italian foreign office has said.

The High Court ruled in February Alder Hey Children’s Hospital could stop providing life support for Alfie against his parents’ wishes.

His parents Tom Evans and Kate James have lost a series of legal challenges to the decision.

The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it hopes Alfie will be allowed “immediate transfer to Italy”.

Posting on Facebook, Mr Evans said: “Alfie has been granted Italian citizenship. We await for the [Italian] foreign minister to call Boris Johnson.” [The British Foreign Minister]

He then said outside the hospital: “I’m stood here now and Alfie is still here. Why? Because I’m still fighting for him, I’m still fighting and so is Alfie.”

He said he had been in touch with the ambassador of Italy and his son had been given Italian citizenship, which he claimed would block any planned withdrawal of life support.

The Christian Legal Centre, which represents Alfie’s parents, said: “The Italian ambassador has urgently contacted the court with a request for the Italian government to be allowed to intervene in the case and seek the return of their citizen Alfie Evans to Italy.

“We don’t know what the response will be and whether it’s going to stop the withdrawal of treatment here.”

Earlier on Monday, a group of protesters supporting Alfie tried to storm Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool before police officers formed a line to block the entrance.

About 200 people turned up to protest outside the Liverpool hospital after judges at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) refused to intervene in the case.

Alfie has been in Alder Hey since December 2016 with a rare undiagnosed degenerative neurological condition.

His parents want to take him to Rome’s Bambino Gesu Paediatric Hospital, which has links to the Vatican, where his palliative care would continue.

Alfie’s parents had lodged an urgent application with the ECHR [European Commission for Human Rights] over the 23-month-old’s life support.

However, an ECHR spokesman said the family’s application was “inadmissible”.

Before today’s ECHR ruling, Alfie’s parents had already lost a first round of cases in the High Court, Court of Appeal and European Court of Human Rights, as well as two cases at the Supreme Court.

Earlier this month Mr Evans flew to Rome to meet Pope Francis and begged him to “save our son”.

The Pope previously tweeted his support for Alfie, saying he hoped the “deep suffering” of the toddler’s parents would be heard.

The Foreign Office has been contacted by the BBC but is yet to comment.

And Il Fatto Quotidiano reported minutes ago (link):

Double twist in the story of Alfie Evans, the 23-month-old child treated at the Halder Hey Liverpool hospital for a very serious brain disease.

The procedures for Alfie’s removal from breathing machinery, initially scheduled for today at 2 p.m., have been suspended.

And in the meantime, from Italy came the announcement that Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano and Interior Minister Marco Minniti have granted Italian citizenship to Alfie.

In this way, say sources in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, “the Italian government hopes that being an Italian citizen will allow the child immediate transfer to Italy.”

During the evening, Anthony Hayden, the judge of the British court of appeal who in recent days had signed the verdict authorizing doctors to pull the plug, will hear the Italian lawyers assisting the family.

“We are waiting for the Italian foreign minister to call Boris Johnson. Alfie belongs to Italy,” said father Tom Evans after learning the news.

Evans and his wife, Kate James, had opposed Alfie’s removal from the breathing machinery (approved under British law) with numerous appeals, all rejected.

Now it becomes more concrete the possibility that the child is transferred to the Child Jesus of Rome, a hospital that had already offered to welcome him…

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