The parents of Alfie Evans are headed to court today to file an appeals and there hope is the Supreme Court will somehow save his life. They have been fighting a children’s hospital that wants to yank his life support over their objections.
Alfie’s parents have lost at every single court level they have tried. Every court and every judge has sided with Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and its doctors who claim that Alfie is too far gone and his life support should be terminated. But Alfie’s parents want to take him to a hospital in Italy that has volunteered to provide appropriate care and medical treatment and believes he still has hope despite the very rare neurological condition he faces.
A lawyer representing parents Tom Evans, 21, and Kate James, 20, on Monday asked Court of Appeal judges on Monday to rule that the 23-month-old should be allowed to receive treatment abroad. The court rejected the request. So Alfie’s parents are filing an appeal today with the Supreme Court to consider their attempt to take him to the Italian hospital and not have his life support yanked over their objections
The family had been left heart-broken yesterday when three judges rejected their plea at a London hearing, ruling that Alfie should not be taken to Italy for potential diagnosis and treatment.
They now have a 4pm deadline today to launch an appeal with the Supreme Court, with BBC reporting that they will go ahead with their fight.
A source close to Alfie’s mum and dad said: “It’s the moment they have been dreading and they’re inconsolable.
“They have tried everything to save their little boy’s life but they are running out of options.”
They have already lost a challenge at the Court of Appeal and failed to have the decision overturned at the Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights.
Lord Justice Davis, who is heading the three-strong panel of appeal judges, told lawyers 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.”
There may still be a slight glimmer of hope. Another British media outlet reported:
Paul Diamond, the family’s lawyer, said 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”.
But 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 by 4pm tomorrow if they wish to pursue that legal avenue.
For the second time, Pope Francis has weighed in on the battle to save little Alfie Evans. Over the weekend the head of the Catholic Church called for prayers for Alfie, the 23 year-old suffering from a rare neurological condition who’s hospital is threatening to revoke his life support over his parents’ objections.
Earlier this month, 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.”
The hearing today came 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.
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:
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