The hospital that was at the center of the controversy over Alfie Evans and ultimately yanked his life support was once embroiled in a controversy surrounding the selling of children’s organs after surgery.
Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool came under considerable criticism after fighting with Alfie’s parents for months and withdrawing off his life support without their consent following a massive legal battle. The hospital came under additional criticism when it did not feed it Alfie for longer than 24 hours after removing his life support.
But this is not the first time Alder Hey Children’s Hospital has been in the negative limelight. According to a 2001 news report in the Guardian newspaper, the hospital was also in the news because it sold body parts from babies to pharmaceutical companies in return for financial compensation.
The hospital at the centre of a scandal over the stockpiling of babies’ organs today faced fresh criticism after admitting that it gave a pharmaceutical company body parts from living children in return for financial donations.
Alder Hey children’s hospital in Liverpool said thymus glands removed from youngsters during complex heart operations were sent to the company for research purposes between 1991 and 1993.
The health secretary, Alan Milburn, said: “This is yet another piece of deeply distressing news for the parents of children treated at Alder Hey.
“This was a particular practice which was happening in the early 90s at Alder Hey and, it seems, some other hospitals.
A spokeswoman for Alder Hey said: “The hospital obviously regret if this information is causing any sort of grief to parents.”
The mother of a baby boy whose organs were removed and stored by Alder Hey without her consent said she was appalled at the latest disclosure.
The exchange of organs for cash is the latest twist in the Alder Hey organs scandal – and the first time body parts from living children have been involved.
According to the news report, Alder Hey sold the body parts to a French vaccination company named Aventis Pasteur, which donated money to the hospital’s cardiac department after receiving thymus glands from the operations. The hospital admitted that it sold the body parts removed during heart surgeries to the company. The practice is similar to Planned Parenthood, which sold body parts from aborted babies for profit.
The news comes as some people are defending Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. In new comments today, British prime minister Theresa May defended the hospital. She argued that medical experts ought to be the ones to make decisions in such cases as opposed to parents and family.
But Terri Schiavo’s brother Bobby Schindler disagrees and told LifeNews that courts should never have prevented Afie’s parents from caring for their son, who ultimately died on Saturday less than a week after doctors yanked his life support without their consent.
The head of the Terri Schiavo Life & Hope Network told LifeNews: “Like Tom and Kate Evans, I know how terrible it is to be powerless to care for a loved one, but I cannot imagine the unique tragedy of being prevented from caring for a child in the way that the United Kingdom and European Courts barred them from exercising what so many recognize as their basic parental rights to provide care.”
“We will honor Alfie’s memory,” concluded Schindler, “and we will do whatever we can to affirm the value of every life, regardless of condition and the right of every parent to care for their children in a life-affirming way.”
Carol Tobias, the president of the National Right to Life Committee, told LifeNews that people need to be very clear about what happened with Alfie. She says he was “sentenced to death” by courts and doctors. She says what happened to Alfie and his parents needs to never happen to get to any other child or patient.
The pro-life leader placed the blame for his death squarely on judges and hospital officials who claimed Alfie was too far gone to save.
“Let’s be clear: Alfie Evans was sentenced to death by Britain’s National Health System and the High Court. Their intransigent commitment to the country’s faulty single-payer health system led them to conclude it was better for Alfie to die than leave the country and receive potentially life-saving treatment elsewhere,” Tobias said.
Alfie Evans ended up dying very early Saturday morning after the children’s hospital that was supposed to provide him with appropriate medical care and treatment disconnected his life support without his parents’ permission. That action came after a long and extensive legal battle between Alfie’s parents and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, with the British court system agreeing with doctors by saying that Alfie was supposedly too far gone for additional care and treatment or experimental medical treatment to possibly help his neurological condition.
Alfie supposedly suffered from a degenerative neurological condition and administrators at Alder Hey, which is a National Health System Foundation Trust, sought, and received, approval from the High Court to discontinue treatment in direct opposition to the wishes of Alfie’s parents. The High Court’s decision was met with outcry around the world, and was condemned by world leaders including European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, Polish president Andrezej Duda, and Pope Francis.
Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome offered to treat Alfie and he was granted Italian citizenship to expedite his transport to Italy. However, the High Court prohibited Evans and James from removing their son from Alder Hey.
Alfie’s father Tom Evans spent the last 10 minutes of the 23-month-old little boys life desperately trying to revive him with mouth to mouth.
Meanwhile, Alfie’s mother Kate has posted a poem remembering Alfie that has already been shared thousands of times on Facebook.
In posts on Facebook, Alfie’s mother and father confirmed his passing.
“Our baby boy grew his wings tonight at 2:30 am. We are heart broken. Thank you everyone for all your support,” she wrote.
“My gladiator lay down his shield and gained his wings at 02:30 absolutely heartbroken,” the boy’s father Tom Evans wrote on Facebook.
Family friend Laura McKenzie said: “Tom and Kate really appreciate everyone coming and showing their love.
“The whole world showed how much Alfie was loved and we’ll never, ever, ever forget him or his name. No one will.”
After his death, family and supporters of Alfie Evans celebrated his life in pictures and hundreds of tearful supporters of Alfie Evans and his family gathered at a park near Alder Hey Children’s Hospital to release balloons to honor the little boy after his death. And Pope Francis expressed the kind of sentiments that people around the world are expressing. He talked about his sadness and he talked about Alfie being embraced by the Lord in heaven.
“I am deeply moved by the death of little Alfie. Today I pray especially for his parents, as God the Father receives him in his tender embrace,” the pope tweeted on Saturday.
The legal battle sparked anger nationwide in England but also internationally as people stood up for Alfie’s parents and strongly opposed courts and hospitals making life and death decisions for patients over their families objections.
There is concern that the hospital contributed to his death.
As LifeNews reported, after removing his life support without permission, officials at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital waited 28 hours before finally feeding the 23-month old boy, who was fighting a rare neurological condition. Alfie’s Father Tom Evans confirmed at the time that his son was finally being fed but he condemned hospital officials for waiting so long to finally get him the nutrition he needs.
“They only started feeding him at one ‘o’clock yesterday. It’s disgusting how he’s being treated,” Evans said. “Not even an animal would be treated like this. He’s proving them wrong. It’s time to give him some grace and dignity and let him go home or to Italy.”
The other day, Alfie’s parents changed course and decided to end their battle.
Alfie Evans’ father Tom Evans called for supporters of Alfie and his family to “stand down” so they can begin “building a bridge” with Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and its staff. The statement from Alfie’s father was surprising given the animosity that had developed between the Evans family and the hospital. Hospital officials have spent months in court preventing Alfie’s family from taking him to a hospital in Italy or even taking him home. Hospital officials even went as far as misleading courts by saying that they never said Alfie would die quickly after his life support was removed — even though they initially said Alfie would die within minutes after yanking his life support over his parents’ objections.
But perhaps seeing that there was little opportunity left to fight for Alfie’s rights and their right to take him abroad or take him home or sensing a need to appease the hospital to bring him home, Tom Evans struck a conciliatory tone.
Later, the family of Alfie Evans blasted a false news report saying his parents are supposedly preparing for his death.
Alfie’s parents had hoped to take the little boy to the hospital in order to potentially get experiemental treatment that could help his rare degenerative neurological condition but courts repeatedly denied that. Justice Hayden ruled that Alfie’s family would not be able to fly him to Italy for treatment and appeared to say that this was the final decision related to his case. He said flying Alfie to Italy could harm his health because, as court testimony indicated, the flight could trigger possible “continuous seizures due to stimulations” of the flight. But Alfie’s parents are concerned Alfie will die if he doesn’t get care and possible experimental treatment in Italy.
A British doctors group, The Medical Ethics Alliance, expressed its horror over the treatment of Alfie Evans that it called a “medical tyranny.”
And Italy’s Healthcare Chief has slammed the decisions by UK courts to treat Alfie the way that they had. The President of the Italian National Institute of Health lambasted the UK High Court’s decision yesterday on Alfie Evans’ that resulted it the children’s hospital being allowed to remove life support over Alfie’s parents’ objections.
Pope Francis repeatedly spoken on Alfie’s behalf and urged that Alfie’s parents be allowed to bring him to Italy.
Members of Parliament are leading a new campaign for a law to prevent the tragic situation happening to Alfie Evans and his parents from happening to any other family. The new campaign calls on MPs to debate the matter in the House of Commons – with potential plans for “Alfie’s Law.”
Alfie Evans is not the first little boy to be held hostage by the court system and the healthcare system. There have been many other cases where courts and doctors have made the life or death decisions for a patient over the objections of their family.
One of those cases involved a little boy named Charlie Gard. In essentially the exact same circumstance, the British courts decided that his parents did not have the right to make the decision whether his life support was disconnected and a hospital yanked his life support without their consent. Charlie ultimately died not long after that happened. Chris Gard and Connie Yates’ little boy passed away just before 1st birthday in July 2017.