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LONDON, April 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Three British judges have refused to overturn a previous judge’s decision that it is in baby Alfie Evans’ “best interest” to discontinue ventilation, which will likely cause his death. The decision also means that Alfie's parents cannot move their son from a Liverpool hospital for treatment in Italy.
Alfie’s case was back in court today after his parents unsuccessfully attempted last week to remove their baby from Alder Hey children’s hospital and transfer him to a healthcare facility in Italy. The hearing was conducted in the Court of Justice in Westminster before Lord Justice Davis, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Moylan.
The case ultimately revolves around the question of what a child’s “best interests’ are and whether courts or the parents have the final say.
Paul Diamond represented Alfie’s parents Thomas Evans and Kate James. He sought to overturn Mr Justice Hayden’s decision last week that Alfie’s parents may not remove him from Alder Hey hospital. He argued that it was a deprivation of Alfie’s liberty in not letting him travel to a different hospital.
The parents say that their 23-month-old son is not receiving the care and treatment that he needs. While hospital doctors say the baby is essentially braindead and has no quality of life, parents Tom and Kate have video footage showing the baby yawning, stretching, and responding to various stimuli.
In his summing up, Lord Justice Moylan repeated the arguments made recently by Justice Hayden about the baby’s care.
Justice Hayden had previously ruled that “it was not in Alfie’s best interests to continue ventilation, that he should only receive palliative care, and that it should be carried out by Alder Hey,” stated Justice Moylan, as reported by Liverpool Echo.
Justice Moylan also said that the baby’s independent guardian has agreed with the hospital that withdrawing ventilation is in the baby’s “best interests.” He stressed that when conflicts arise between the parents’ preferences and the child’s best interests, then the child’s best interests must prevail.
The justice stated that the parental rights of Tom and Kate over Alife “do not take precedence.”
“Their views and rights do not take precedence and do not give them the choice to make the decisions regarding Alfie,” he stated.
The justice also stated that it is “wrong to say that the parents’ own views can trump that judicial determination.”
“As has been determined with considerable clarity in this case, Alfie’s best interests are determinative and the court has decided what treatment he should or should not receive. It is precisely because of this judicial determination that Aflie has been kept in Alder Hey Hospital,” he said.
Then the justices rejected permission to appeal the ruling using legal representations at the Court of Appeal. They did acknowledge, however, that Alfie's parents had the right to lodge an appeal with the Supreme Court. They set a deadline of 4pm the next day. The decision was delivered today at the Court of Justice at about 4:20 PM London time.
The family's representative indicated that the appeal will be lodged. Treatment of Alfie will continue until the Supreme Court decision.
Alfie Evans, born May 9, 2016, is lying critically ill in Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation in Liverpool. His doctors agree that he has an undiagnosed neurological condition that has resulted in serious and irreparable brain damage. In February 2018, Alder Hey won a legal decision that continued life support was not in the child’s best interests. Alfie’s parents fought the decision to the Supreme Court and before the European Court of Human Rights. Courts have refused to allow the parents to determine what is in Alfie's best interest.