Alfie Evans is a 23-month-old boy suffering from an unidentified neurodegenerative condition. As Texas Right to Life previously reported, instead of seeking to identify and treat his condition, Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool, England, has tried to remove Alfie from breathing assistance in order to end his life against the wishes of his family. Recently, Alfie’s distraught parents, Thomas Evans and Kate James, revealed that the hospital sought legal action to end Alfie’s life at any time.
This devastating development in the life-or-death legal battle between Alfie’s parents and the hospital comes at the same time the hospital agreed to meet with Alfie’s parents to discuss new evidence that he shows signs of progress and is fit to be transported to another facility for care. Alfie’s parents have attempted for several months to move Alfie to Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital in Rome, which has agreed to care for him. Last week, Alfie’s parents met with representatives of Alder Hey to present new evidence and the opinion of another medical transport company willing to fly Alfie to Rome if Alder Hey will release him.
Alfie’s mother, Kate James, wrote in a Facebook post that the hospital had “gone behind our backs” and after, the meeting with Alfie’s family, sent an application to the High Court judge involved in the case “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.” James wrote that they “have been completely ignored and given false hope” that Alder Hey would review the latest evidence the family presented.
The family has shared updates on the harrowing legal battle and their son’s health on the Alfie’s Army Facebook group, which has attracted more than 128,000 followers from around the world. Locally, hundreds of people marched in Liverpool to express support for Alfie’s family in their bid to move him for treatment. Because of the growing media attention this activism has brought, more people are following the case. Pope Francis even commented on the situation via Twitter writing:
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.
Despite the continued international pressure, the European Court of Human Rights refused to intervene claiming that Alfie’s rights under the European Convention on Human Rights were not being violated. Administrators on the family’s Facebook page are now imploring supporters not to send emails to the judge or the hospital for fear that such activism will be detrimental to their legal cause.
Alfie’s story has uncanny similarities to that of Charlie Gard, an infant who died from a mitochondrial disorder after a British hospital refused to allow his parents to transport him for experimental treatment. By the time the courts reconsidered Charlie’s parent’s desperate bid to move their ailing son for treatment, his condition had deteriorated too much to be considered for the experimental medical interventions. Tragically, Alfie, who has been hospitalized since December 2016, may face a similar problem. His family continues to share videos of Alfie responding to touch and his father’s voice, but the specifics of his condition are not known. The hospital has done little to ensure his progress, instead focusing on the legal maneuverings to wrest parental rights from Evans and James in order to end Alfie’s life against their wishes.
Texas Right to Life is all too familiar with cases like Alfie’s and Charlie’s. Although the Texas Legislature successfully passed DNR Consent Reform in the last session, much is needed to reform the Texas 10-Day-Law that allows hospital committees to withdraw life-sustaining treatment against the wishes of the patient or his or her legal surrogate. Alfie’s parents have the right to seek treatment for their son despite the anti-Life agenda of hospital bureaucracy that views his quality-of-life as too poor to justify treatment. So, too, every Texas patient has the Right to Life and should have the ability to seek care that respects that right. Share Alfie’s story and demand that Texas law protect vulnerable patients.