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Hospital backtracks on promise to listen to evidence of improvement, Alfie Evans’ parents allege

by | Apr 9, 2018

Instead they return to court to establish final timeline to withdraw his ventilator

By Dave Andrusko

Alfie Evans. Courtesy of Alfie’s Army Official Facebook

When we reported last week on 23-month-old grievously ill Alfie Evans, his aunt, Sarah Evans, had just told the Liverpool Echo that an “agreement between Alder Hey [hospital] and Tom [Alfie’s father] 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.”

Steven Woolfe, a British member of the European Parliament, supported her conclusion, adding that on Thursday

he had attended a meeting with officials at the Liverpool hospital, where Alfie’s father Tom Evans presented what he believed was fresh evidence.

His understanding was that a decision on ending life support was on hold for the hospital to review the case and consider “alternative options”, including taking Alfie to Italy for treatment.

But as we noted at the time, Alder Hey, which is adamant that Alfie’s ventilator be disconnected and that he not be allowed to be flown to a hospital in Rome for further evaluation and possible treatment, referred only to its previous statement about finding “the most appropriate palliative care plan.”

Sure enough, late on Thursday, the hospital issued a statement saying that “[W]e 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.” They reiterated that they had unsuccessfully tried “to reach agreement with parents about the most appropriate palliative care plan for their child” and were going back to court for a date certain to remove his ventilator, according to Connor Dunn of the Liverpool Echo.

Alfie Evans’ mother, Kate James, was furious. She wrote on Facebook

“After the meeting today with Alder Hey that we have fresh evidence and fresh material, including a second opinion from another air ambulance company agreeing that Alfie is fit to fly, and if Alder Hey were to liaise with them, they would fly Alfie.

“They have gone behind our backs and at 4pm sent the application back to 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.”

[Alder Hey countered,” At no point has a date for withdrawal of treatment for Alfie been agreed with his family.”]

Mr. Evans added more detail on Instagram, charging that the hospital had “agreed to view the evidence and have a meeting over it.”

“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.”

The evidence Mr. Evans was alluding to was posted on Alfie’s Army Instagram page which said that Alfie has been

“stretching, coughing, swallowing, making breathes on his own, yawning, sucking his dummy” [candy]

and reacting to being tickled.

The hospital’s position is that Alfie’s condition is terminal, that the Bambino Gesu hospital can do nothing more than Alder Hey already has, and that maintaining Alfie on a ventilator would compromise his “future dignity,” in the words of Mr. Justice Hayden, the trial judge..

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 the hospital since December 2016.

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.  Their last ditch appeal to the European Court of Human Rights was rebuffed.

That is why when the hospital returned to court—rather than listen to the medical evidence which is what they thought Alder Hey had agreed to—was such a bitter pill.

Categories: Infants