2-year-old faces ‘death penalty’: UK court OKs hospital yanking life support against parents’ wishes
LIVERPOOL, England, February 21, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – The UK high court ruled Tuesday that a hospital may remove a toddler’s ventilator against his parents’ wishes after the hospital said it would be “unkind, unfair, and inhumane” to allow the 21-month-old to keep living.
Alfie Evans, son of Thomas Evans and Kate James, has a mysterious, undiagnosed disease. He is in a coma and has seizures, but responds when his parents interact with him. Thomas is 21 and Kate is 20.
“My son is two years of age and he’s been sentenced to the death penalty,” Thomas Evans said after the ruling. “How wrong is that?”
“They want him dead on Friday” and won’t even let us bring him home to die, he said.
The Evans family may appeal the ruling, UK media reported.
Alder Hey Children’s Hospital has been fighting to have Alfie’s life support yanked even though his parents want to fly him via private air ambulance to Bambino Gesu Hospital in Rome.
Mr. Justice Hayden, who presided over the case, said in his decision that continuing to help Alfie breathe via a ventilator is “no longer in Alfie’s best interests.” Alfie needs “good quality palliative care” and “peace” so that “he may conclude his life as he lived it, with dignity,” he said.
“This isn’t over,” said Thomas Evans. “I’m not giving up. My son ain’t giving up. No one – and I repeat, no one – in this country is taking my boy away from me. No one.”
He said he wouldn’t let anyone violate his rights as a parent or Alfie’s rights.
Alfie’s parents set up a Facebook group called Alfie’s Army to provide updates on the situation. The group is filled with videos and pictures of Alfie reacting positively to his parents touching him, opening his eyes, sucking on a pacifier, and stretching.
Sarah Evans, Alfie’s aunt, posted in Alfie’s Army that the family needs “£10,000 for the lawyers to appeal by tomorrow.” She then posted that they “got over our target.”
After the High Court ruling against letting Alfie live, she posted: “The news we received today was the worst they could possibly say, we are numb and words are struggling to form together.”
The judge's ruling is “a travesty for human rights,” Catherine Glenn Foster, President of Americans United for Life, told LifeSiteNews. “Alfie’s loving parents, Thomas and Kate, rather than hospital bureaucrats, should be empowered to decide his course of care, and they should be allowed to transfer Alfie to another hospital that has volunteered to continue testing and treating him in hopes of finding a cure.”
“When a facility that was hired and trusted to care for a young patient like Alfie is permitted to reverse course and argue in court that his basic medical care should be cut off and his parents should be denied their right to seek medically appropriate care from another facility, we are all in danger,” Foster warned.
“We have already seen similar denials of medical care and transfer rights even here in the United States and Canada,” she noted, and “with continued focus on centralized medical decision-making and slashing medical costs, there is a real risk that more and more people will face these situations in years to come.”
Alfie’s case is eerily similar to that of Charlie Gard, another British baby whose parents and hospital disagreed about his course of care. Numerous courts ruled against Chris Gard and Connie Yates, Charlie’s parents, and ultimately, after capturing the world’s attention, his life support was pulled. Connie and Chris had raised over $1.5 million to transfer Charlie to the U.S. for experimental treatment for his rare mitochondrial disease, but the government wouldn’t let them move their baby to another hospital.
Alder Hey has previously come under public criticism over its organ harvesting practices. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, this scandal revealed that the hospital had “stockpiled” human organs. Alder Hey was investigated for removing and storing children's’ organs and bodies without their parents’ consent and “mistakenly” disposing of a dead three-year-old’s organs.
On January 26, 2001, Alder Hey admitted to “having given thymus glands removed from living children during heart operations to a pharmaceutical company in return for cash.”