Alfie Evans’ Parents Get Second Chance in Court to Stop Hospital From Yanking His Life Support

International   Steven Ertelt   Apr 13, 2018   |   9:14AM    London, England

The parents of little Alfie Evans have been given a second chance in court to stop a children’s hospital from yanking his life support over their objections. Alfie’s parents seemingly had exhausted all of their legal options to prevent Alder Hey Children’s Hospital from cutting off Alfie’s life support without their consent.

But today, Alfie’s parents are set to push forward with another legal challenge to allow their son to stay alive — even though a court ruled earlier in the week when the hospital can shut down his life support.

Tom Evans and Kate James are heading to a Court of Appeal to ask judges to allow their 23 month old son to continue to receive medical care and treatment. Officials with the appeals court say a hearing has been scheduled for Monday.

The hearing comes after a drama-filled day in London where Alfie’s parents relied on a letter from a pro-life attorney saying they have the legal right to withdraw Alfie from the hospital. However police blocked them from getting Alfie and leaving.

Here is more on the scheduled court date for next week:

Court officials confirmed to MirrorOnline the fresh appeal has been listed but were unable to say on what basis it had been granted.

The couple, who are from Liverpool, have already lost fights in the High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights.

On Wednesday a judge set a time and date for Alfie’s life support to be switched off – and ordered that it can’t be made public knowledge.

Back in February, Mr Justice Hayden ruled that doctors at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool could stop treating Alfie against the wishes of his parents following hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London and Liverpool.

On Wednesday he endorsed a detailed plan put forward by Alder Hey doctors for withdrawing life-support treatment – after considering a number of issues at a follow-up hearing.

The judge said detail of that plan could not be revealed because Alfie was entitled to privacy at the end of his life.

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Legal advisers representing the couple say they will ask appeal court judges to overturn at least one decision made by Mr Justice Hayden on Wednesday.

Appeal court officials said an appeal court judge had decided that Alfie should continue to receive treatment pending Monday’s Court of Appeal hearing.

Last month, a European court that is supposedly devoted to protecting people’s human rights sentenced little Alfie Evans to death. The European Court of Human Rights has denied his parents’ request in moving him to a hospital that will actually provide him care rather than removing his life support.

Although Alfie’s parents have already lined up a hospital in Rome to provide him with a proper care and treatment plan, British courts as well as the European Court have sided with the hospital and its desire to yank his life support — saying he has little or no hope left.

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

Recently, Tom Evans obtained a letter from a pro-life attorney, Pavel Stroilov of the Christian Legal Centre, advising him that it would be legal for him to remove his son from the hospital — but police prevented him from doing so.

Evans and friends and family posted video on Facebook of the failed attempt to remove Alfie from the hospital.

“I have a documentation saying that I have the right to take my son out of this hospital,” Evans says in the video.

“Alder Hey is stopping us. Alder Hey is calling the police. To murder my son. Alder Hey has phoned the police to stop me from taking my son out of the hospital,” Evans continued. “This is my son. Look at my healthy, healthy young boy who’s undiagnosed and is certainly not dying. There’s the ventilator. We have all the equipment.”

Stroilov’s letter informs Evans: “You have asked me to clarify whether it would be legal for you to remove your son Alfie from Alder Hey Hospital without the Hospital’s consent. In Alfie’s situation, that would only be practical with the support of a team of medical professionals with the necessary life support equipment.”

“Subject to that, I can confirm that such a removal would be lawful under English law,” he continued. “Alfie is only in hospital because you, his parents, voluntarily sought its healthcare services. Alfie retains the right to self-discharge from hospital. He is not imprisoned there. Because of his minority, it is for you, as his parents, to make a decision to self-discharge or to stay at hospital.”

He added: “The effect of the declaratory orders made by Mr Justice Hayden in the High Court is to make it lawful for Alder Hey to withdraw his artificial ventilation treatment, and to protect Alder Hay and its staff from legal liability for that step. It is not the intention or effect of the order to circumvent Alfie’s personal liberty or your parental rights. It remains lawful for an alternative team of medical professionals, with your parental consent, to provide such medical treatment to Alfie as they professionally deem to be appropriate.”

Below is the full legal letter:

Dear Tom,

You have asked me to clarify whether it would be legal for you to remove your son Alfie from Alder Hey Hospital without the Hospital’s consent. In Alfie’s situation, that would be practical with the support of a team of medical professionals with the necessary life support equipment.

Subject to that, I can confirm that such a removal would be lawful under English law.

Alfie is only in hospital because you, his parents, voluntarily sought its healthcare services. Alfie retains the right to self-discharge from hospital. He is not imprisoned there. Because of his minority, it is for you, as his parents, to make a decision to self-discharge or to stay at hospital.

The effect of the declaratory orders made by Mr Justice Hayden in the High Court is to make it lawful for Alder Hey to withdraw his artificial ventilation treatment, and to protect Alder Hey and its staff from legal liability for that step. It is not the intention or effect of the order to circumvent Alfie’s personal liberty or your parental rights. It remains lawful for an alternative team of medical professionals, with your parental consent, to provide such medical treatment to Alfie as they professionally deem to be appropriate.

As you know, today Mr Justice Hayden made a further order scheduling the withdrawal of ventilation from Alfie [REDACTED]. The legal position may arguably become more complicated if someone within the High Court’s jurisdiction continues to provide ventilation after that point. However, there is no doubt that, until that point in time, it remains entirely lawful to provide ventilation to Alfie; and that can be done by a medical service provider of your choice.

For these reasons, as a matter of law it is your right to come to Alder Hey Hospital with a team of medical professionals with their own life-support equipment, and move Alfie to such other place you consider is best for him. You do not need any permission from Alder Hey Hospital or the Court to do so.

Hope this clarifies the matter.

Christian Legal Centre