Court Rejects Parents’ Appeal, Allows Hospital To Shut Off Boy’s Life Support

April 17, 2018
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A British court has recently rejected the final appeal from the parents of little Alfie Evans, whose life support will be shut off soon by a children’s hospital despite their objections.

The child suffers from a rare neurological disease which doctors at the hospital have been unable to treat.

Alfie’s parents want to take him to a hospital in Italy that has offered to provide care and treatment and to do their best to combat the medical condition, but doctors at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in London say Alfie’s condition is too far gone and they want to pull his life support which will end his life.

A lawyer who is representing parents Tom Evans, 21, and Kate James, 20, on Monday asked Court of Appeal judges to rule that the 23-month-old should be allowed to receive treatment abroad.

The Court of Appeal agreed with Alder Hey specialists that the terminally ill child “could not be saved” and that it would be “unkind” and “futile” to continue treatment.

Lord Justice Davis, who is heading the 3-strong panel of appeal judges, told lawyers that at the start of the hearing today that doctors had agreed that there was “no hope”.

He said: “We cannot have a kind of legal ‘Groundhog Day’ where you come back again and again and again on the same point.”

The court was also read a statement from Lord Justice Hayden’s previous ruling where he said: “The terrible reality was that almost the entirety of Alfie’s brain has been eroded, leaving only water and cerebral spinal fluid.

“Treatment is futile as experts both here and abroad agree. Alfie will never make any developmental progress. He has been treated in Alder Hey since 2015.”

A second appeal judge, Lady Justice King, noted that doctors’ unanimous opinion was that Alfie “could not be saved”.

There may still be a slight glimmer of hope. Another British media outlet reported:

Paul Diamond, the family’s lawyer, said that he wished to apply for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

He argued the Supreme Court “got it wrong” and “only they can reconsider their verdict”.

However, Alder Hey’s lawyer Michael Mylonas – along with Alfie’s independent guardian – argued permission should not be granted and the Supreme Court has already heard the arguments.

Lord Justices Moylan and Davis, and Lady Justice King, unanimously rejected the application for permission to appeal.

But the family do have the right to ask permission directly to the Supreme Court.

Paul Diamond, and Alfie’s family, must lodge this appeal if they wish to pursue that legal avenue.

Pope Francis sent out a tweet supporting Alfie. He expressed his hopes on Twitter that “everything necessary would be done” to help the child, who suffers from a mystery brain disorder.

The Holy Father tweeted: “It is my sincere hope that everything necessary may be done in order to continue compassionately accompanying little Alfie Evans, and that the deep suffering of his parents may be heard. I am praying for Alfie, for his family and for all who are involved.”

Alfie, who was born May 9, 2016, has a devastating degenerative brain disorder that has baffled physicians and specialists.

He has been a patient at Alder Hey Childrens’ Hospital since December 2016. The hospital has asked the courts for authority to disconnect Alfie’s ventilator.

The parents have also asked for permission to move Alfie to a hospital in Rome for further evaluation and possible additional treatment.

The hospital balked at the request. They argue that Alfie’s condition is terminal and that the Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome can do nothing more than Alder Hey already has.

On February 20, after a seven-day hearing, Mr. Justice Hayden concluded, “I am satisfied that continued ventilatory support is no longer in Alfie’s interests,” and that maintaining Alfie alive on a ventilator would compromise his “future dignity,” mirroring the conclusions reached by Alder Hey Childrens’ Hospital.

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