Letter Slams Catholic Cardinal Who Defended Hospital That Ended Alfie Evans’ Life by Saying “Courts Must Decide What’s Best”

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 2, 2018   |   9:33AM   |   Washington, DC

A Catholic Cardinal who defended the hospital that ended Alfie Evans’ life is coming under considerable criticism. Supporters of Alfie Evans and his family are very upset that the leading Catholic Cardinal in Britain joined the chorus of those who are defending the Children’s Hospital that yanked his life support and caused his death.

As LifeNews reproted, Britain’s leading Catholic official has praised the staff of Alder Hey Children’s Hospital for how it treated Alfie Evans even though it fought to yank his life support over his parents’ consent and withheld food and water for over 24 hours after it won a court order to remove the life support. This is the same hospital that was once embroiled in a controversy surrounding the selling of children’s organs after surgery.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster blamed pro-life advocates and supporters of Alfie’s family saying they “sought political capital” while doctors were only concerned with Alfie’s welfare. The Catholic Cardinal also argued that England’s courts were right to override the wishes of Alfie’s parents saying that “a court must decide what’s best not for the parents, but for the child.”

But an open letter from a pro-life Catholic to the Cardinal tells him: “Do not abandon us to the culture of death.”

Clare Short writes: “I read your statement on the Alfie Evans case with extreme sadness and disbelief. I felt that you sided with the culture of death that is so prevalent in our society today, rather than standing up for Gospel values of life, hope, love and mercy. In this letter, I want to explore some of the things you said, and also try to get to the root of why you took the hospitals side, rather than that of Alfie and his parents.”

Short wonders: “Did you know about the horrendous neglect Alfie was experiencing at the hospital?”

The writer, based in the UK, says she knows other parents who have had, and are still having terrible experiences at Alder Hey.

“Alder Hey has one of the worst reputations of any hospital I have ever come across. As a Liverpool boy yourself, I would have thought you would be well informed on the reputation of this hospital,” Short adds.

Short posts a number of items from Alfie’s family about the lack of care and treatment fom Alder Hey. She says she’s surprised that the Cardinal wouldn’t know about the problems Alfie’s family had getting him care.

She writes:

Didn’t any of your advisors alert you to them? Did you not know the only reason Alfie was given oxygen and food a whole day after he had been extubated was because his father Tom threatened a complaint, since the death protocol approved by Judge Hayden spoke neither of deprivation of oxygen nor of suspension of nutrition? Did you really not know about any of this? I have spoken to people who were in the courtroom when Alfie was given his death sentence, and they have told me that they have never had such a close and harrowing encounter with the culture of death.

In actual fact I sincerely hope you were not correctly informed of the situation at Alder Hey, because if you were informed, and you still chose to support it, that would be a far greater and more disturbing problem.

What about the scandal at Alder Hey in 1999, when organs were removed from babies who died at the hospital. Hospital staff also kept and stored 400 foetuses collected from hospitals around the north west of England. Did you not know about this?

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And then there was the scandal of 2003 when Alder hey removed 5 year old Amy Enright’s thymus gland during an operation when they treated her for a defective heart. Her parents found out that her thymus gland had been “commercially bartered or sold” by the hospital in exchange for hospital equipment with a pharmaceutical company. Alder Hey removed and sold a body part from a living patient. Did you not know about this either?

This was all headline news over several decades, which leads me to believe that you must have been aware of Alder Hey’s reputation.

Short also condemns the Catholic leader’s comment about the courts making decisions for parents.

This is truly one of the most disturbing things I have ever heard a Cardinal say. How is it possible that a Catholic Cardinal can side with those who have stripped the parents of all their authority, so they can legally end their child’s life?

As a mother of 3 children, I can now see you have no desire to defend my rights as a parent, which are being further and further eroded away by the state. It is becoming more and more apparent that you were quite happy to sacrifice Alfie Evans and his parents on the altar of political correctness rather than stand up to an increasingly totalitarian state.

People all over the UK are now having conversations about the amount of power the state now holds over the people. The time has come where you need to decide whether it is any longer appropriate for you to continue trying to fit in with the state, or whether it is time to take a stand against it. You can’t do both, and you can’t do nothing.

Short goes on to cover issues with the chaplaincy at Alder Hey, with more problems Alfie’s parents faced, and additional problems. She concludes:

If you truly were not aware of things I have written about Alfie in this letter, then I’m sure you will agree that a statement of clarity, or perhaps even an apology to the family for your previous statement would not go a miss.

But if you did know about all these things, and you were willing to turn a blind eye to parents being stripped of their authority so the state could murder their child, then I beg you Cardinal Nichols, to remember who you are. You are here as God’s servant, to lead the people of the UK in the fight against this great evil that has infiltrated our culture and seeks to rob us of our human dignity. You are not here to compromise the faith by lying in bed with the establishment, or to focus on your own ambitions.

Forgive me for saying so, but if you are unable or unwilling to lead us in this fight, then you need to pass the baton to someone who will, because we are at crisis point.

Meanwhile, as LifeNews reported, 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.

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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.

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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.