The high court judge who previously denied Alfie Evans’ parents their wish to have their son transferred to a hospital facility in Rome will hold an emergency court hearing in a few hours after the youngster seen breathing on his own. Mr. Justice Hayden will preside in Manchester at around 3.30pm British time, according to a spokeswoman.
A representative for the Christian Legal Centre, which is assisting Alfie’s parents, said the judge would be asked to allow medical experts in Italy to examine Alfie. She added that medics at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool had stopped providing “ventilation support” to Alfie shortly after 9 pm Monday night.
She also noted that Alfie continued to breathe independently.
“Contrary to all the expectations of the doctors, Alfie has survived much longer than the doctors predicted, lending support to the request from Alfie’s parents for Alfie to be seen by medical experts in Italy,” she explained, as reported by ITV News. “An air ambulance is now waiting outside Alder Hey Hospital ready to take Alfie to hospital in Italy.”
The current situation has been outlined clearly by a British member of the Europen Parliament, Stephen Woolfe MEP, who has been campaigning relentlessly on behalf of Alfie Evans:
WATCH: Facebook Live update from me on Alfie Evans
Posted by Steven Woolfe MEP on Tuesday, April 24, 2018
“At 3:30pm, we go back to court in Manchester to stand before Justice Hayden, we cannot discuss why there are court proceedings going on until later,” read an admin post on the Alfies Army Facebook Page. “Can we all light a candle for Alfie or say a little prayer, as he has been breathing continuously for almost 17 HOURS.”
The son of Billy Graham, Franklin, also appealed for prayers. “I cannot imagine a more heart-wrenching situation for a mom and dad to be in,” Graham wrote on Facebook. “Liverpool parents Tom Evans and Kate James need our prayers. Their son Alfie Evans had his life support withdrawn yesterday and now they’ve been granted an emergency hearing. Pray for little Alfie and pray for these parents as they fight for their son’s life.”
Life support was taken away from the 23-month-old boy, who has a rare degenerative neurological condition, at 9.17pm Monday after a final attempt to appeal to the high court was denied. Justice Hayden said the legal plea was a “last-ditch appeal” and that he was “not going to provide more time.” Since then, Alfie’s father, Tom, has told the press that his son was able to breathe unaided for over nine hours before doctors administered vital oxygen and water to the sick toddler. Evans said it was obvious that his son was breathing unassisted “within a few minutes” of life-support being withdrawn.
“They say Alfie’s suffering. He’s not even on a ventilator and he’s not suffering,” Tom Evans said outside the hospital where his son is being treated. When asked what treatment doctors had been administering to his son, Mr. Evans replied: “They left him for six hours without food, water and oxygen. “I felt blessed when they confirmed they were going to give him his water and his oxygen.”
“He’s now on oxygen. It’s not changing his breathing but it’s oxygenating his body,” Evans added. “He is still working, he’s doing as good as he can.”
“He’s still breathing now,” Evans continued, according to Sky News. “It’s come to a point when his mum’s actually asleep next to him so she can go to sleep, she feels comfortable with him.”
Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, where Alfie is being treated, has refused to comment on his condition, but has issued a short statement on the case:
“Out of respect for the privacy of Alfie and his family we will not be issuing any updates about his condition,” the hospital stated. “This is our normal and agreed practice with all our patients.”
Update from Alder Hey – 24th April 2018 pic.twitter.com/xybR67o8yu
— 🏥 Alder Hey Children's Hospital (@AlderHey) April 24, 2018
“We do need him to be supported … in the next hour it’s going to be hard but we will need him to be supported in the next hour or two,” Tom continued. “Because he’s been doing it for nine hours totally unexpected.”
“The doctors are gobsmacked,” he added. “And I do believe he will need some form of life support in the next couple of hours and I think he ought to be respected and given that.”
Earlier this morning, Aflie’s mother Kate James revealed that Alfie has now been given the oxygen and water he requires to be kept alive. Alfie has been allowed oxygen and water!! How amazing is he,” she wrote on the Alfie’s Army Facebook page. “No matter what happens he has already proved these doctors wrong – how beautiful does he look.”
This latest development comes after Alfie was granted Italian citizenship in a bid to have him transferred to a Vatican-associated hospital for further treatment.
Foreign Minister, Angiolino Alfano, and interior minister, Marco Minnitti granted Alfie citizenship in hopes that he could be transferred to Italy.
“The Italian government hopes that being an Italian citizen will allow for the child’s immediate transfer to Italy,” the statement read.
The Pope has again sent out a message of support to the Evans family.
Moved by the prayers and immense solidarity shown little Alfie Evans, I renew my appeal that the suffering of his parents may be heard and that their desire to seek new forms of treatment may be granted.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) April 23, 2018
All legal appeals have now been exhausted, with another plea to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) being turned down. The latest rulings caused protesters to rush the hospital in hopes of preventing Alfie’s life support from being pulled.
A group of 200 supporters gathered at the hospital today to attempt to enter the building. They were blocked by police but continued to shout “Save Alfie Evans” even when outside.
An ECHR spokesman defended the actions of the hospital saying: “The European court of human rights has rejected the application submitted by the family of Alfie Evans as inadmissible.”
The fact that Alfie is breathing on his own goes against what the court believes about his so-called “hopeless” medical condition. “Alfie has been breathing on his own for 30 minutes or so now, despite the barbarous decision to remove his ventilator,” tweeted writer Sohrab Ahmani. “This runs counter to the court’s factual “finding” about his respiratory capabilities. State-directed murder.”
We will keep you posted with any further updates today.