NRL News

Judge moved by videos of Alfie Evans, asks hospital probing questions

by | Feb 8, 2018

By Dave Andrusko

Throughout the hearing to determine the fate of Alfie Evans, the gravely ill 20-month-old son of Tom Evans and Kate James, Mr. Evans has said opinions would shift if they saw videos showing how responsive Alfie is.

Reporting for the Liverpool Echo, Tom Belger wrote

Mr. Justice Hayden, the judge hearing this case, commented on the videos of Alfie shown to him by Mr. Evans in a part of yesterday’s session that was heard in private.

He has asked for Alder Hey doctors to give their views on them, because he “could not easily reconcile” what he saw of Alfie with some of their evidence about his condition.

Justice Hayden said, “Some of those videos had a powerful impact on me, and I would like to know what the doctor’s response to them is.”

According to Belger’s extensive recap taken of today’s hearing

The judge said one video showed some stretching exercises between Alfie and his dad, in which there “appeared to be a response” to exercises that Alfie had come to recognise.

One video showed movement of the arm and another showed him extend his fingers when stroked, according to Mr Michael Mylonas QC, who is representing Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

A doctor who works at Alder Hey, identified only as “Dr. A.,” told the judge that “in his view Alfie’s arm moving was a ‘reflex movement’ and was not unusual.”

But according to Belger, “They appear to show him moving his head, clasping with his hand, yawning and sneezing, in videos the family have previously shared that give them hope for their son.”

Doctors at Alder Hey in Liverpool, England, say it is in Alfie’s “best interests” to disconnect his life support, arguing he is terminal with a “neurodegenerative disease.” The young couple wants to be allowed to take Alfie to the Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital in Rome for treatment they believe may prolong his life.

What stands out is the remarkable contrast between Alfie’s case and that of Charlie Gard.

Whereas Justice Hayden goes out of his way to pose the questions Mr. Evans could/should ask (he does not have an attorney), asking the Alder Hey representatives hard question, in Charlie Gard’s case, the impatience of the presiding judge, Justice Nicholas Francis, with Charlie’s parents was transparent. Justice Francis took the comments from the Great Ormond Street Hospital as definitive and was dismissive (to put it politely) of Connie Yates and Chris Gard, Charlie’s parents.

The case will resume Friday morning. You can watch the remarkable videos.

Categories: Infants