The Supreme Court in England has condemned another disabled baby to death. This time it has allowed a hospital to stop Alfie Evans’ life support over his parents objections.
Alfie’s parents Tom Evans and Kate James had appealed the decision by Mr. Justice Hayden who concurred with Alder Hey Hospital in Birmingham, England, that turning off Alfie’s life support was in his “best interests.”
The hospital claims an MRI scan in November 2017 showed that 70% of the matter in Alfie’s brain had been destroyed and said an independent witness told a previous hearing that Alfie’s brain was “entirely beyond recovery” with no capacity to regenerate itself. The parents disputed the diagnosis, and showed startling video of a much more responsive 21-month-old little boy than testimony given by the hospital suggested.
Evans and James were asking for the right to take Alfie to Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome in hopes doctors could determine what is the root cause of his brain disease and provide additional medical interventions.
A High Court judge has ruled that doctors can stop treating Alfie Evans, against the wishes of his parents Kate James and Tom Evans, and three Court of Appeal judges have upheld that decision. Alfie’s parents, who come from Liverpool, wanted to stage a fight at the Supreme Court in London. But a panel of three justices, headed by Supreme Court president Lady Hale, has decided that the case is not worth arguing and has refused to give the couple “permission” to mount a further appeal.
The panel on Tuesday released a written ruling after considering written arguments from lawyers representing everyone involved. Justices said in their ruling that the “proposed appeal” was “unarguable”. Judges have heard that Alfie, who was born on May 9 2016, is in a “semi-vegetative state” and has a degenerative neurological condition doctors had not definitively diagnosed.Rules meant that Alfie parents could not simply ask Supreme Court justice to consider the case. They first had to clear an initial legal hurdle by persuading justices that they had a case worth arguing.
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Alfie Evans’ dad says there is a “glimmer of hope” for his son despite judges dismissing a legal challenge to keep him alive.
The courts did not set a deadline for when their 21-month-old son’s ventilation must be stopped. The parents were told they could work out themselves with Alder Hey the plans and a timescale for the withdrawal of life support and end-of-life care. One of the judges, Lord Justice McFarlane, said there would be “time for discussion and humanity to be a priority.”