The father of Alfie Evans, the toddler that has been at the center of a vast, ethical controversy over parental rights, has posted a new picture of his son following a Court of Appeals ruling against Alfie being released from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. In the newly released image, Alfie can be seen with his eyes open.
Acknowledging the fervent optimism such an image is likely to spark, Tom was quick to point out that Alfie’s eyes were open as a result of a small seizure. “Alfie has not yet woke up — this is just after a very small seizure. He tried his best to stay awake, but after a couple of minutes and a couple of very tired kid flickers, he went back of to sleep,” Tom wrote. The post has since been shared nearly six thousand times (and climbing).
Tom Evans and Kate James appealed to the judge to allow their son to be transferred to a medical facility in Rome for further treatment. Their request was denied. On Monday Lord Justice Davis, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Moylan all ruled against the parents at the appeal court hearing in London.
According to the BBC, Lord Justice Davis said doctors had agreed that there was “no hope” for Alfie, who suffers from an undiagnosed degenerative brain disease. He added: “We cannot have a kind of legal ‘Groundhog Day’ where you come back again and again and again on the same point.”
The judges also rejected a request for the case to go transferred to the Supreme Court. There is, however, one more throw of the dice available to the grief-stricken parents — they have 24 hours to appeal directly to the UK’s Supreme Court. Legal papers are set to be filed this afternoon by the Evans’ legal representatives, the Christian Legal Centre.
“Habeas corpus liberty cannot be set aside by a judge’s view that it is in Alfie’s interest to die now,” Roger Kiska of the Christian Legal Centre told Faithwire Tuesday. The Habeas Corpus Act 1679 was an Act of the UK Parliament that requires the courts to examine the “lawfulness of a prisoner’s detention and thus prevent unlawful or arbitrary imprisonment.”
Mr. Kiska explained to Faithwire that Alfie’s parents should not be prevented from moving their son to another treatment facility. He also asked for prayers as the parents make one final appeal directly to the Supreme Court today.
“Kate and Tom, Alfie’s parents, do not accept that it is in his best interests to have his life ended by a judge’s ruling; they should be free to take him to a hospital that is ready and willing to treat him,” Kiska explained to Faithwire. “Alfie should also be able to access the treatment being offered abroad. Alfie’s parents are filing an appeal to Supreme Court this afternoon.”
“Transferring our stable son MAY be a risk???” Tom posted to Facebook after the ruling. “THEY SAY I NEED TO FACE REALITY!! I’ve been living through it for 15 months. Me and Kate accept our son is going to die, but when we don’t no, so it’s only our responsibility to let him outlive his remainder with as much dignity love and defection as possible.”
“It’s not over!!!!” he added.
“The next step is going back to the courts,” said Tom’s friend, Liam Sorrell. “We have got to keep on fighting for him, Alfie is fighting so we have to. I’ve been in the room with Alfie and he opens his eyes and looks at you.”
Just came into Alfie after my interview and this is what he is telling the world the judges the drs the trolls🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻…
In another photo posted to the group, a priest can be seen at Alfie’s bedside.
“On this dark day, God sent a beautiful priest to do what any Catholic priest is supposed to do: pray and console,” Ferguson Shelly wrote alongside the image. “Father Gabriele in recent months has followed the story of little Alfie, praying for him and trying to sensitise the faithful and the Church against limiting the right to life of sick children.”
“The concern that brought me here was to see that Alfie had not yet received the sacrament of healing for the sick, that’s why I proposed to do it,” the unnamed priest reportedly said. “I read online that when a journalist asked a Liverpool priest to come, he answered, “it is not my job” so I came. All the circumstances were then favorable to bring me here.”
“If the Church wants to be a mother she must come to the weak, the sick and the least.”
The Catholic Church has played an active role in trying to get Alfie released from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, offering to care for him at a medical center linked to the Vatican.
“I entrust to your prayers persons like Vincent Lambert in France, and little Alfie Evans in England, and [persons] in various countries who live, sometimes for a long time, in a state of serious infirmity, and are medically assisted for their basic needs,” Pope Francis said on Sunday, as reported by LifeSite News. “They are delicate, very painful and complex situations. Let us pray that every sick person is always respected in his dignity and cared for in a way that is suitable to his condition, with the unanimous support of family members, doctors and other medical professionals, with great respect for life.”
Earlier on Sunday, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, also issued a statement on the Alfie Evans case:
“The story of little Alfie Evans of Liverpool, of his young parents Tom and Kate, and of all the people who over these long and painful months of illness have worked in different ways for the good of this child, in recent days has unfolded in all its terrible tragic effects.
I pray for him and for the people involved, and I invite everyone to join in this intention before the Lord of life.
I strongly hope that dialogue and cooperation can be reopened between the parents, who understandably are devastated by suffering, and the hospital authorities where Alfie has been treated until now, so that together they might seek Alfie’s complete good, and so that care for his life might not be reduced to a legal dispute.
Alfie cannot be abandoned. Alfie must be loved, and so must his parents, through to the end.”
Yesterday, Alder Hey released a statement on the case, vowing to “continue to provide the best possible care for Alfie and his parents at this difficult time.”
“Today Alfie’s parents brought an application before the Court of Appeal claiming that he was unlawfully detained. They also claimed that despite the unanimous medical evidence and the extensive findings of the Court in previous decisions about Alfie’s best interests, they should be able to choose to take him abroad even though that was expressly not in his best interests,” the hospital stated.
“The Court of Appeal dismissed those applications. Mr Justice Hayden had previously said that the application alleging Alfie was unlawfully detained was entirely misconceived. The Court of Appeal agreed.”
The hospital added: “We hope that staff will be allowed to continue caring for Alfie and all other children at Alder Hey without interference or disturbance.”
With each development, protests have been erupting outside the hospital, which has caused concern for many of those attempting to visit their loved ones. The police are investigating “acts of intimidation,” as reported by the BBC.
Chief Inspector Chris Gibson said officers recognised the sensitivities involved: “Whilst many people have gathered to protest in a peaceful way, Merseyside Police is now investigating a small number of reports, some of which originate from social media, as well as instances of verbal abuse and acts of intimidation from those outside the hospital”.
“We would like to remind the public that this is a hospital for sick children and it should not be forgotten that many families are going through extremely challenging and emotional times,” Mr. Gibson added.
“Deepest apologies from me and Kate James to the parents and staff affected by the protest/demonstration, it wasn’t mine Kate’s or anyone else’s intention to harm or cause conflict or upset,” Tom Evans posted regarding the demonstrations.
“We just wanted to take our son to give him the chance he deserves.” He also requested that supporters take “a break” from protesting, so that he and his wife can spend some quality time with Alfie, and to ensure they maintain a good relationship with staff. “Can I ask that after tonight I would really appreciate if everyone has a break from the protesting please,” he wrote on Facebook.
“Me and Kate need to now focus on spending precious time with Alfie and focus on the next legal step, keeping the relationship with the staff at ease and peace and make sure no parents are being affected any more.”
The parents will make a final appeal to the Supreme Court this afternoon in a bid to have their son released from Alder Hey.
“We ask for your readers to pray for sustained strength for Tom and Kate, as well as Alfie, who has shown the same tenacity and fighting spirit his parents have exhibited throughout this ordeal,” Christian Legal Centre’s Roger Kiska told Faithwire. “And finally we ask for your readers to pray that the Supreme Court recognise the preciousness of this young boy’s life.”