NRL News

Alfie Evans’ aunt says hospital is holding off disconnecting his ventilator, will “consider alternative options”

by | Apr 5, 2018

By Dave Andrusko

While there are mixed signals, it appears as if, for now, the hospital at which gravely ill Alfie Evans is a patient may be holding off withdrawing the 21-month-old little boy’s ventilator.

Alder Hey Childrens’ Hospital in London has vigorously fought the efforts of Tom Evans and Kate James, Alfie’s parents, to move him to the Vatican-affiliated Bambino Gesu Pediatric hospital in Rome for further evaluation of his as-yet undiagnosed brain disorder and possible treatment.

The parents lost at all three levels of the British judiciary—the trial court, the Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court. All backed the hospital’s conclusion that Alfie was terminal, that further treatment would be futile, and that keeping him alive on a ventilator would compromise his “future dignity.” Their last ditch appeal to the European Court of Human Rights was rebuffed last week.

But yesterday, one day after Pope Francis tweeted his support for Alfie, and Steven Woolfe, a British Member of the European Parliament met with hospital appeals, Woolfe held a press conference in which he said, according to the Liverpool Echo’s Josh Parry,

“Just had a meeting at Alder Hey with Alfie’s parents. Hospital agreed not to end Alfie’s life today and will consider the alternative options we presented, including for Alfie to receive treatment available in Italy.”

Parry added,

Aunt Sarah Evans told the ECHO that an “agreement between Alder Hey and Tom had been reached to suspend end of life care so they can review Alfie’s situation and see if he is fit to travel abroad for further medical treatment.”

The Sun newspaper’s Connor Dunn added, “The intervention means there will now be a series of meetings over the next few days to discuss the best alternatives for the 21-month old infant’s future.”

For its part, Alder Hey Childrens’ Hospital said it would not be commenting and referenced its earlier statement, following the decision of the European Court of Human Rights:

“The European Court of Human Rights declared Alfie’s family’s application inadmissible, finding that there was no appearance of a violation of the rights and freedoms set out in the European Convention on Human Rights.

“This signals the end of a very difficult and protracted legal process. We understand that this decision is very distressing for Alfie’s family. Our priority is now to work with them to agree the most appropriate palliative care plan and we would ask that their privacy is respected at this time.”

Last week posting on Facebook, Mr. Evans said the family had been “failed disgracefully by the system.”

“We as parents are not giving up … Our son is about to be murdered, taking [sic] away from us, his innocent life is about to be taken.

“Please our Queen, Pope Francis, please [German Chancellor] Angela Merkel. Someone save our innocent not dying son. He looks into our eyes every day, he responds to us every day. Alfie James Evans we love you so so so much. We will do everything we can.”

Earlier this week, Mr. Evans posted that the hospital had decided to withdraw Alfie’s ventilator as early as this Friday. He also said Alfie had shown spontaneous signs of improvement:

“Yesterday, me, my brother Daniel and sister Rachael witnessed Alfie do seven breaths out of the blue on his own.

“We are begging the hospital to continue this process to give us and Alfie the chance to see if he wakes up or improves. They want the machine off on Friday, but we are still trying to work on a day. Alfie has shown a small, small improvement. He needs his chance.”

Alfie, who was born May 9, 2016, has a devastating degenerative brain disorder that has baffled physicians and specialists. Alfie has been a patient at Alder Hey Childrens’ Hospital since December 2016.

In his tweet, the Pope said

“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.

“I am praying for Alfie for his family and for all who are involved.”

Categories: Infants