The UK’s Court of Appeal has rejected a legal challenge lodged by the parents of Alfie Evans following a series of legal setbacks that have left Tom Evans and Kate James unable to save their son’s life.
The Evans’ family were hoping to transfer 23-month-old Alfie to Italy for treatment at a Vatican-affiliated children’s hospital. They had an air ambulance crew on standby outside Alder Hey. But this wasn’t enough to convince the Appeal Court judges that such a move would be in Alfie’s “best interests.” The Court of Appeals rejected two separate appeals, one from Alfie’s father Tom, and another from his mother Kate.
During the course of the lengthy court hearing, Alfie’s mother phoned her barrister to let him know of Alfie’s deteriorating condition – she urged that her son needed immediate intervention. “I have spoken to her directly,” Jason Coppel QC told the court. “The purpose of the phone call was to say that Alfie was struggling and needed immediate intervention to ensure that he survives at least for the purposes of today and she asked me if I would pass that on to the court and ask that the court invite the hospital to take the appropriate steps.”
The Christian Legal Centre’s Paul Diamond did his level best to exhaust every possible legal avenue available to the family in order to gain permission to move Alfie from Alder Hey Children’s hospital. Diamond requested that the court “get out of judicial straight jacket” and admit that “best interest” should never mean someone needs to die.
In the end, it came down to whether or not Alfie’s life was worth saving.
Diamond implored the courts to recognize the innate value present in Alfie’s existence. “We submit there is a likelihood of Alfie having some pleasure in life. That is beyond our knowledge,” he said.
Lady Justice King said: ‘That is not the evidence.”
“The evidence is that he is unlikely to have pain, but that tragically everything that would allow him to have some appreciation of life, or even the mere touch of his mother, has been destroyed irrevocably,” she added.
“We say the order of Mr. Justice Hayden was simply to remove life-sustaining equipment because there is no medical cure,” he explained. “We say when we enter a situation where the individual continues to breathe we have to amend that care plan.”
“We cannot allow a situation like that to continue in a British hospital,” Diamond added.
“This is awful for everyone concerned,” Justice McFarlane said, as reported by Sky News. “We are in the middle of palliative care plan at Alder Hey Hospital. I can see no basis that judge was wrong.”
It has since been revealed that Tom Evans has lodged a “conspiracy to murder” case against three doctors at Alder Hey. Subsequently, when Diamond suggested that the father had no “hostility” towards the NHS, Justice McFarlane snapped back.
“Your client purported to take out a private prosecution to have three named doctors charged with the criminal offence of conspiracy to murder,” the judge said, as reported by the Daily Mail. “Those summonses were served on the doctors and I hear you say that there is no hostility to the NHS.”
This is likely the last line of defense Alfie had in seeking further treatment outside Alder Hey. It is also unclear as of now what, if any, types of treatment will be provided for Alfie while he remains at his current hospital.
Paul Diamond, the barrister representing Alfie’s father, Tom, told the judges earlier that: “We submit there is a likelihood of Alfie having some pleasure in life. That is beyond our knowledge.” But Lady Justice King of the Court of Appeals fundamentally rejected this claim responding: “That is not the evidence. The evidence is that he is unlikely to have pain, but that tragically everything that would allow him to have some appreciation of life, or even the mere touch of his mother, has been destroyed irrevocably.”
“In reality, he could be in Italy right now. We all know the military air force are ready to take him and a team of doctors are there.”
Evans added: “We’ve also got a German air ambulance team, who attempted to take him in the first place, ready… the reality is these people are eager to get him out of the country and I’m not giving up because Alfie’s breathing away, he’s not suffering.”
Speaking to ITV’s This Morning program, Evans explained how medics had left his son without food or water for a number of hours. “Doctors only just started feeding him at 1 o’clock yesterday,” he said. Alfie’s life support was switched off around 9 pm the previous evening.
“It’s disgusting how he’s being treated. Not even an animal would be treated like this,” Evans continued, before adding that the youngster was “proving” doctors wrong, saying: “I’m not happy with the way they’re just leaving him in there and not really pushing to continue to save his life.”
Some reports have also indicated that Tom Evans was forced to give Alfie mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to keep him breathing.
Around 150,000 people have now signed a petition urging the Queen of England to intervene. The petition reads:
“To Her Majesty in Parliament:
We the undersigned humbly petition Your Majesty for protection of life and liberty of your 23-months-old subject Alfie Evans.
The judges in Your Majesty’s Courts have given orders:
* to kill Alfie on an appointed hour at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool by withdrawing his life support;
* for the day and hour of that killing to be kept secret from the public to avoid any protest or hinderance; and
* for Alfie to be detained in Alder Hey until his death – any attempt to release him to be resisted by force, and punished by imprisonment.
These cruel orders are not authorised by any law ever passed in a democratic Parliament. Instead, the said judges pretend to exercise Your Majesty’s ancient autocratic jurisdiction over the life and death of your subjects.”
The petition appears to have been signed off by Thomas Evans, Alfie’s father.
In yesterday’s emergency hearing, Justice Hayden urged doctors to consider having Alfie moved home, but the medics present appeared concerned by this suggestion.
An Alder Hey clinician, part of the team treating Alfie overnight, tells court the soonest they could move him home would be 3-5 days but that hostility to medics makes that “impossible” at present.
— Josh Halliday (@JoshHalliday) April 24, 2018
This morning, Polish President Andrzej Duda tweeted out his personal support for the 23-month-old. “Alfie Evans must be saved! His brave little body has proved again that the miracle of life can be stronger than death. Perhaps all that’s needed is some good will on the part of decision makers. Alfie, we pray for you and your recovery!” he wrote.
In the latest update from the Alfie’s Army page, the youngster’s aunt, Sarah Evans, posted: “Please continue to pray Alfie is still fighting, I need a portable Bpap or CPAP at the hospital ASAP. Please”
These machines offer a non-invasive form of therapy for patients with breathing difficulties.
Speaking to ITV’s This Morning, Tom talked about the possibility of getting Alfie home. “I believe I am getting closer – Mr Diamond [the family’s barrister] did have some progress,” he said. “We would feel more blessed to get him to the Italian hospital.”