As the parents of a sick toddler fight for continued treatment, saying that he is showing signs of improvement, the hospital where he is staying is requesting court permission to end his life support.
At 23 months old, Alfie Evans has been under continuous hospitalization since December 2016. He is in a “semi-vegetable state” due to an unknown neurological degenerative condition.
His parents, Kate James and Tom Evans, say that he has recently grown “stronger and more responsive,” noting that he could take a few breaths on his own and was stretching, coughing, swallowing, and yawning.
However, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool said this week that it would be seeking advice from London’s High Court over a date when Alfie’s life support could be withdrawn, according to the BBC.
“We must return to the High Court, as we are legally required to do, for guidance about a date on which to withdraw treatment from Alfie,” read a statement from Alder Hey Hospital.
“We always aim to reach agreement with parents about the most appropriate palliative care plan for their child but sadly, in this case, we have not been able to do this,” the statement continued.
In March, London’s Court of Appeal upheld a lower court’s decision to end life support for Alfie. Judge Anthony Hayden of the High Court ruled that “continued ventilator support is no longer in Alfie’s interests.”
Alfie’s parents have futilely made requests in the past to transfer him to the Vatican-linked Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital in Rome, for further diagnosis and treatment. However, Alder Hey Hospital refused the transfer, deeming it “futile.”
While the court upheld the hospital’s decision to remove life support a month ago, against the wishes of Alfie’s parents, an official date for the removal has yet to be made.
When the hospital recently announced that it would be discussing with the High Court a date to disconnect life support for Alfie, his parents said Alder Hey Hospital had “gone behind our backs,” according to the Scottish Sun.
Alfie’s parents said they recently met with representatives from the hospital, and allegedly discussed delaying the removal of Alfie’s life support in an effort to pursue “alternative options.” They also offered documentation of a second opinion deeming Alfie “fit of fly” in order to receive alternative treatment options elsewhere.
However, after the meeting with Alfie’s parents, the hospital reportedly requested to the court that Alfie’s treatments be removed as soon as the following day, April 6.
“They have gone behind our backs and at 4 pm sent the application back to [High Court judge] Justice Hayden to remove Alfie’s life support as soon as tomorrow, even though in the meeting they agreed to view the evidence and have a meeting over it,” said Alfie’s father on Instagram, according to the Mirror UK.
“We walked out of that meeting with confidence that Alder Hey were listening to us and in reality, they went behind our backs and disregarded everything that went down in the meeting,” he continued.
Pope Francis recently praying for Alfie and his family in a Tweet.
“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,” the Holy Father said.
“I am praying for Alfie, for his family and for all who are involved.”