On Saturday, Alfie Evans’ parents announced that the toddler passed away at 2:30 AM local time. His death came after Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, England, removed life support against his parents’ wishes. Alfie lived for five days without life support, and, shockingly, the hospital withheld food for the first 28 hours after removing life support. On Saturday, Kate James, Alfie’s mother, posted on Facebook: “Our baby boy grew his wings tonight at 2:30 am. We are heart broken. Thank you everyone for all your support.”
Alfie suffered from a neurological condition, which Alder Hey refused to diagnose and treat. Despite the fact that Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital in Rome agreed to care for Alfie, Alder Hey sought and attained the legal power to act against the wishes of Alfie’s parents to transfer Alfie for promising experimental treatment. Pope Francis and thousands of people around the world followed Alfie’s story closely and expressed support for his parents.
News reports stated that Alfie’s father, Thomas Evans, spent the final ten minutes of the boy’s life desperately trying to revive him with mouth-to-mouth. Alfie’s mother shared a touching poem about the family’s ordeal which reads in part:
Mummy please don’t cry now.
For I must go to sleep.
I’ll be beside you always.
To dry the tears you weep.
Daddy please be strong now.
It’s time for me to rest.
The three of us together dad.
We fought, we done our best.
You took my fight to everyone.
The courts, the queen, the pope.
While still caring for your baby.
You never give up hope.
Alfie’s tragic case is not unique. Last year, Charlie Gard’s family faced a similar legal battle for his Right to Life. Like Alfie’s case, the hospital sought legal action to strip Charlie’s parents of their right to make medical decisions. Experimental treatment that had seemed promising came too late because the hospital fought so long to end Charlie’s life.
In Texas, we have also seen cases like Alfie’s and Charlie’s. Shockingly, in Texas, hospitals do not need any intervention from the court to override a patient’s wishes or the wishes of their medical surrogate. The anti-Life Texas 10-Day Law gives hospitals the power to act against the expressed wishes of the patient to remove life-sustaining treatment. Every year, dozens of Texas patients are subjected to this unprecedented, unconstitutional, and unethical legal process that ends in their imposed death. The difference is that these patients’ stories and the struggles of these families do not catch the media’s attention. In 2015, Chris Dunn gained international attention when he prayed for his life as the hospital threatened to end his care.
As evidenced by the recent proposal of “Alfie’s Law” to protect parental rights in difficult medical situations, so Chris Dunn’s tragic fight continues after his death. Pro-Life legislators have worked tirelessly to reform the Texas 10-Day Law to protect vulnerable patients, and Chris’s family has challenged the constitutionality of the anti-Life law.
Texas Right to Life sends prayers and condolences to Alfie’s family. We stand with the Evans family and the family of Chris Dunn and all vulnerable Texans. We will not end the fight until all patients are protected under the law.