Private funeral for Alfie Evans to be held Monday
LIVERPOOL, May 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — A private funeral for Alfie Evans will be held on Monday, May 14.
Alfie Evans, the English toddler whose parents fought his doctors for the right to have him transferred to another hospital, died on April 28. He survived for almost five nights after being suddenly removed from life support. Alfie’s funeral will take place at an undisclosed location.
The press and the general public will not be admitted. Instead, supporters of the little boy and his parents, Tom Evans and Kate James, are invited to line the streets outside Liverpool’s Goodison Park between 11 and 11:30 AM that day.
The Merseyside Police have issued a statement saying that a small number of officers will be at the funeral. They ask also that members of the public who have not been invited avoid both Alfie’s wake and his funeral.
Through Twitter, Chief Inspector Gibson stated: “We respect that this is a very difficult time for Alfie’s family, friends and the wider members of the public and appreciate that a number of people will want to pay their respects and offer their condolences.”
“Alfie’s mum and dad, Tom and Kate, continue to thank the community for their support but have asked us to ask well-wishers to respect their privacy during the event,” he continued.
“Both the funeral and the wake will not be open to the public or media, with our attendance purely being to offer support for those attending the funeral. Those who have not been invited to the funeral are asked to avoid the area to allow Alfie’s family to grieve privately.”
It is not widely known in what “area” the funeral will be.
Had he continued to live, Alfie would have turned two on May 9. On his birthday, hundreds of his supporters gathered for a vigil in Liverpool’s Springfield Park, bringing flowers and balloons, candles and cupcakes.
Dearly loved by his parents and extended family, Alfie’s life was both tragic and short. The parental rights battle over his care captured the world's attention, with Pope Francis even making available a military plane to fly the toddler to the Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome.
In July 2016, the newborn was referred to hospital for a “divergent squint” (one eye turning outwards). By the time Alfie was four months old, his mother noticed other troubling signs. His smile had become less frequent, he was sleeping too much, and he showed little interest in interactions and playing with toys. By six months, Alfie showed signs of significant developmental delay. An MRI showed that his brain was not developing properly.
Alfie was admitted to Alder Hey hospital’s emergency department on December 14, 2016 after an episode of coughing, high temperature and, according to a subsequent court decision, “rhythmic jerking of all four limbs and his jaw.”
The boy was diagnosed with acute viral bronchiolitis and a possible prolonged febrile convulsion. He began to jerk again, and these seizures worsened the next day. Alfie was then treated with Midazolam and then, on the 16th, with Vigabatin instead. A doctor described him as “comatose” from this time forward. On December 19, it was discovered that Alfie had a slow breathing rate and apnea (pauses in breathing). Alfie went into cardiac arrest and was given an oxygen mask.
He was admitted to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, and was later diagnosed with pneumonia. In January 2017, Alfie’s parents were warned he might die. Nevertheless the boy recovered from pneumonia, albeit without any improvement to the health of his brain. Doctors from Alder Hey and additional doctors consulted by Alfie’s parents agreed that the child had a fatal neurodegenerative disorder. It remained undiagnosed to the end.
When Alfie’s condition declined, the hospital began to pressure his parents to remove him from life support.
Dad Tom Evans and mum Kate James refused to give permission. Undeterred, the hospital went to court to argue that removing the child’s life support was in his "best interests." On February 20, 2018, Mr Justice Heydon of the UK Supreme Court ruled that it was in Alfie’s “best interests” to discontinue treatment, to be removed from his life support, and to receive palliative care at Alder Hey.
Alfie’s parents appealed the decision before the UK Court of Appeal and the UK Supreme Court before pleading their case before the European Court of Human Rights this March. The ECHR ruled that their appeal to take their son elsewhere in the European Union was “inadmissible” and that the child’s rights under the European Convention on Human Rights were not being violated. The court also refused to block Heydon’s decision that Alfie’s doctors could remove the boy’s life support against his parents' wishes.
Alder Hey then applied to the High Court to set a date for Alfie's death. His parents responded with more appeals, all of which were denied.
Pope Francis repeatedly spoke out in support of Alfie’s parents, and an Italian priest, Fr. Gabriele Brusco, offered spiritual help to the Evans family until he was recalled to his London parish. Just over a week after Alfie’s death, Brusco resigned his position as an assistant parish priest and left England.
On Friday, April 20, the UK High Court denied Alfie’s parents’ final appeal that they be allowed to continue caring for their son and ordered Alder Hey remove his life support on April 23. Surprising doctors, Alfie began to breathe for himself and survived until 2:30 AM on April 28.
For all LifeSite coverage of the Alfie Evans case, click here.
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