UK Court Orders Toddler to be Taken off Life Support, Goes Against Parents' Wishes
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Photo Credit: (Alfie’s Army Official/PA)
A 23-month-old boy fighting for his life in a United Kingdom hospital now has a date and time for when he will be taken off life support, despite the wishes of his parents.
Alder Hey Children's Hospital, part of the UK's National Health Service Foundation Trust, in Liverpool, issued the following statement Wednesday:
"Today the High Court has set a date and time for when life support for Alfie Evans should be withdrawn. We understand this is a difficult time for Alfie's family and we would ask that their privacy is respected. The Trust will not be issuing any further comment at this point."
Alfie is battling an undiagnosed brain disease, according to The Liverpool Echo. In February, Mr. Justice Hayden of the High Court ruled that whatever was causing his condition, the damage to the toddler's brain was so severe that it was in his best interest to be taken off life support.
The Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights upheld that decision.
"He told me he would leave no stone unturned and he was indeed true to his word," Hayden said during the hearing, referring to Alfie's father, The Liverpool Echo reported. "Ultimately my judgement was upheld. It represented a consensus of medical expertise."
"By the time I came to conclude the case, the terrible reality is that almost the entirety of Alfie's brain had been eroded, leaving only water and spinal fluid," the justice continued.
Alfie's father, Thomas Evans, made an impassioned plea for his son's life on the "Alfies Army" Facebook page Tuesday.
"Tomorrow could be the day (he) is executed as you can see on the vent he can clearly breathe when he wants to as well as cough,sneeze,yawn,stretch,swallow,spit etc," he wrote.
And later in the post:
"His features haven't changed,he hasn't stopped growing,he responds to as much as he can, he fights through seizures without any effect taking to him. I AGREE WITH ALL THE HATERS HE SHOULD NOT (B)E HERE NO.... HE SHOULD (B)E IN ITALY WHERE THEY WANT TO KEEP HIM ALIVE AND TREAT HIM AND AT LEAST PREPARE US TO TAKE HIM HOME. As I have said all along our son is not dying why should this have to happen to him?????"
Alfie's parents, Evans and Kate James, asked London-based Christian Legal Centre to defend their son's life in a last-ditch effort.
Monday, the hospital asked the High Court for permission to shut off the child's life support Thursday, according to Christian Concern, a sister organization of Christian Legal Centre.
"The parents have been with him 24-7, and they have seen marked improvement," Roger Kiska, legal counsel at Christian Legal Centre, told CBN News prior to Wednesday's hearing.
"They videotaped this improvement, and so what they're asking the court is for them to look at this and say, 'Hey, we're the parents; we've had offers from hospitals in Milan, in Rome and in Munich to offer treatment, and as the parents we should be allowed to seek that treatment.'"
"Ultimately, what we're saying is that the state shouldn't be providing a death sentence here, that if the parents have options to seek medical treatment elsewhere, that it should be them who are making this decision as to his life and his well-being," Kiska continued.
Following today's hearing, the Echo had reaction from Kiska:
"Obviously, we're greatly disappointed in today's decision," he shared. "We were hoping for a better outcome. We felt that the evidence we presented was compelling, that it showed a level of recovery as the doses of medication have been lowered, and that at least warranted another pediatric neurologist to look at it."
"We argued under EU law, which hasn't been argued yet, that he has a right to seek foreign treatment within Europe, which has been offered to them," Kiska continued. "And ultimately, it comes down to the fact that as Alfie's parents, Tom and Kate have been at his bedside 24-7."
"They've seen the improvement. They're the ones who love their son the most and that they should have been given the right to make that decision and not the state," he said.
The Echo reported that the date and time when Alfie will be taken off life support cannot be released for legal reasons.
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