The judge in the controversial legal battle over the life and death of Alfie Evans has told the little boy’s parents that they are not able to take him home, for now. Essentially Justice Hayden considers Alfie’s parents a flight risk and worries they will leave the country with the 23-month old boy in tow.
Earlier in today’s courtroom battle, Justice Hayden told attorneys for Alfie’s parents that they would not be able to take him to Italy for medical care and potential experimental treatment for his rare degenerative neurological disease. But that left the question of whether or not out these parents would be able to take him home.
The answer to that question is no. At least for now. That’s even though the children’s hospital hasn’t allowed Alfie to have any food in almost 24 hours.
But the reason why is startling.
Without saying so, Judge Hayden and doctors at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital essentially compared Alfie’s parents to a criminal who had committed a significant crime. The judge said that Alfie’s parents could look into the potential of taking him home but he wouldn’t authorize doing so unless they had a considerable change of heart about their desire to take Alfie out of the country. Justice Hayden and hospital officials worry the fist thing they will do is whisk Alfie away to Italy to the pediatric hospital that has promised to properly care for him.
Instead, the judge said the best Alfie’s parents could hope for was to “explore” the options of removing him from intensive care either to a ward, a hospice or his home.
But a doctor treating Alfie, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said that for Alfie to be allowed home would require a “sea change” in attitude from the child’s family, and they feared that in the “worst case” they would try to take the boy abroad.
During the hearing, Justice Hayden appeared to blame Alfie’s parents for not being able to take Alfie home, that they were somehow to blame for limiting Alfie’s options if discharged from the hospital. Apparently their attitude is too combative — because they are fighting for their son’s life and doing everything possible to save him.
Justice Hayden, speaking to lawyers representing Alfie’s parents and Alder Hey Hospital, asked: “If there were a more constructive attitude from the family might other options become possible, away from Alder Hey?”
If Tom and Kate Evans are allowed to take Alfie home the question then becomes whether or not they would have the legal right to take Alfie to Rome Italy where a hospital as waiting to provide him appropriate Medical Care and treatment as well as potential experimental treatment. After a decision by Italy yesterday, Alfie now has Italian citizenship which should qualify him for being able to leave the country. But the judge appears to have prohibited that, which could produce an international legal drama as Italian officials are demanding that their citizen be allowed to leave the country.
If Alfie can’t leave the UK, attorneys for his parents say they want Italian doctors to be able to come to Britain to evaluate and treat Alfie.
A spokeswoman for the Christian Legal Centre, which is assisting Tom Evans and Kate James, said they intended to ask the judge to consider allowing medical experts in Italy to examine Alfie.
She said medics at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool had stopped providing “ventilation support” to Alfie shortly after 9pm on Monday.
But she said Alfie continued to breathe independently.
She said: “Alfie has survived much longer than the doctors predicted, lending support to the request from Alfie’s parents for Alfie to be seen by medical experts in Italy
“An air ambulance is now waiting outside Alder Hey Hospital ready to take Alfie to hospital in Italy.”
An air ambulance arrived today outside the hospital where little Alfie Evans is located. Alfie has breathed on his own and has survived for over 20 hours after the Children’s Hospital yanked his life support.
Alfie has defied doctors’ expectations to this point and his parents are headed back to court to fight for his life further. They are hoping to be able to get life support restored and also want to be able to take him to Italy, which granted him citizenship yesterday.
Today, 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 have. 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.
Alfie’s father confirmed the removal of life support and oxygen in a video at 9:17 p.m. London time. “Alfie’s still here and fighting,” he said.
Pope Francis has repeatedly spoken on Alfie’s behalf and urged that Alfie’s parents be allowed to bring him to Italy.