Tuesday, April 24, 2018, #3
Alfie’s Final Chapter?
Breaking, 12 midnight, London time:
In a chillingly unemotional, detached ruling this evening by Great Britain’s High Court, the hopes of Alfie Evans‘ parents to have Alfie flown to Italy to try a potentially different regime of medical care were dashed.
Great Britain’s highest legal authorities four hours ago rejected a request by Tom Evans, 21, and Kate James, 20, to be allowed to take Alfie from the Liverpool hospital, where he now is, and bring him to the Bambino Gesu Catholic children’s hospital in Rome, Italy, just a few hundred yards from Vatican City.
Lawyers representing the family had applied to fly Alfie — who has now been breathing on his own for more than 24 hours, since being removed by hospital authorities last night from mechanical breathing tubes — to Italy.
But the High Court ruled against the request.
The judge, Mr Justice Hayden, called his ruling the “final chapter in the case of this extraordinary little boy.”
The judge indicated that it might be possible for Alfie to receive care at home “for his final days or hours.”
But a member of the hospital staff said that moving patients home “does not happen overnight,” only after extensive consideration and discussion.
So Alfie may very well now die in the hospital without ever going home.
A question: how can the judge consider permitting the child to leave the hospital and go home, but forbid allowing him to leave Engand and go to Italy — especially now that the child is an Italian citizen (the Italian government granted Alfie Italian citizenship in an extraordinary move yesterday morning)?
The answer is not clear.
The basis for the decision not to allow the boy to leave England seems to be the argument that, since Alfie’s condition is, in the opinion of medical experts, “incurable,” any treatment other than the hospital’s “end of life care plan” would be entirely experimental and not based on accepted protocols, thus harmful to the child’s dignity.
In other words, the court, persuaded that there is “no hope” in Alfie’s case, is arguing that the parents’ wishes (who up until now have still had hope), must be over-ruled.
The court is insisting that the parents accept that Alfie receive only the hospital’s “end of life care plan” and then, with dignity, die.
How many more hours or days Alfie will be able to live under this “end of life care plan” is not clear.
Estimates vary widely, from a few more hours to many days.
But there seems little doubt now that — as the judge himself said — that this is the “final chapter in the case of this extraordinary little boy.”
Here is a link to a report on the case, with photos (link).
And here is a Lifesitenews report on the case (link).
A statement from the Liverpool hospital reads:
“This evening the High Court again ruled that it is in Alfie’s best interests to continue with the end of life care plan developed by the clinical team who have cared for him throughout.
“Our top priority therefore remains in ensuring Alfie receives the care he deserves to ensure his comfort, dignity and privacy are maintained throughout.
“This includes working closely with Kate and Tom as they spend this precious time together with him.
“We would be grateful if respect and consideration is shown to all our staff, patients and families at the hospital at this difficult time.”
The judge said: “The sad truth is that it is not the brain stem and the white matter enabling Alfie just about to sustain respiration. A brain cannot regenerate itself, as I have been told.”
So, there now seems to be very little chance the Alfie will ever leave the Liverpool hospital where he has been for nearly a year and a half.
Only the intervention of a higher authority could overturn the decision of the courts.
That “higher authority” would seemingly have to be Parliament, or the Queen herself…
Pope Francis sent out a tweet last night, asking that the parents’ wishes to bring Alfie to Italy to try a different regime of medical care be granted, but his wishes too have been ignored.