The parents of Alfie Evans have this morning released some tragic news: their little boy has passed away. Alfie had survived almost a week without any mechanical life support following a lengthy legal battle over his treatment. Alfie’s parents desired to transfer their boy to a Vatican-affiliated hospital in Rome after arranging a private air ambulance and attaining Italian citizenship for their gravely sick child.
“Our baby boy grew his wings tonight at 2:30 am. We are heartbroken. Thank you everyone for all your support,” wrote Alfie’s mom, Kate James, on Facebook this morning. “We are heartbroken. Thankyou everyone for all your support,” added Alfie’s father Tom Evans. “Absolutely heartbroken. I love you my guy.”
The toddler had spent the last 16 months in a semi-vegetative state from a degenerative neurological condition that medics were not able to definitively identify. As per a series of court orders, Alfie’s life support was switched off on Monday – but the brave youngster continued to breathe unaided, defying the medical opinion of doctors at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.
Tributes have been pouring in for the special little man, who reached millions across the world.
RIP Alfie Evans. Heart breaking news to hear this morning, My thoughts & prayers are with his parents, they did everything they could for this little man ?? God rest his soul ? pic.twitter.com/lmeKMsoXQr
— Frank Bruno MBE (@frankbrunoboxer) April 28, 2018
RIP Alfie Evans ??
Go have fun in heaven mate, no more torment and pain on Earth
Sleep well little Prince x
— Mark (@Markthablue) April 28, 2018
On Thursday, Tom Evans issued a “final” statement on his son’s current situation, and also nodded to the “professionalism” of the staff at Alder Hey. In a statement that was far removed from his earlier argument that clinicians had “misdiagnosed” his son, Evans thanked supporters for their dedication but asked that they now be given their privacy as a family.
Eternal rest grant unto #AlfieEvans, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
— ♱ (@0canom) April 28, 2018
“We also wish to thank Alder Hey staff at every level for their dignity and professionalism during what must be an incredibly difficult time for them too,” he added.
Alfie was suffering from a degenerative neurological disease that caused his brain matter to waste away.
Yesterday, the legal firm representing the family of Alfie Evans released a disturbing statement explaining its involvement in the case, and there were ome shocking revelations. Most notably, when the legal basis for future treatments was being determined, it was all done so while the Evans family were without legal representation.
The chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, Andrea Williams, revealed that Tom Evans and Kate James were deprived of legal representation for the crucial February “fact-finding” hearing – leaving them at a distinct legal disadvantage as the case moved forward.
“We believe that a particularly important event for the future direction of this case occurred in February 2018 – again, before our involvement,” Williams wrote in her statement. “It was in February that the crucial “fact-finding” hearing took place, where the medical evidence and alternative treatments were considered by Mr. Justice Hayden.”
Then came the crucial detail: “Significantly, at this hearing, Mr. Evans and Ms. James had no legal representation.”
Williams, a qualified barrister, argued that the couple’s lack of legal representation resulted in “major repercussions for the future outworking of the case.” She noted that it was at this particular hearing when the court found that it was in Alfie’s “best interests” to “have treatment withdrawn and to be allowed to die.”
As a result of this gross injustice, MEP Steven Woolfe is launching a campaign to introduce a new law that will ensure parents are assigned fair and equal legal representation in comparison to the courts and hospitals.
“Alfie’s case is not isolated. It follows a pattern where the NHS and the Court, both arms of the state, proceed as a juggernaut to crush dissent and to refuse be open their minds let alone their hearts to new evidence,” MEP Stephen Woolfe posted on his Facebook page. “It is regularly happening across the UK.”
“All parents should be allowed an independent advocate to defend their case with the right legal and medical expertise and financial equality of arms,” added Woolfe. “Now is the time to act. We cannot have another baby, another family, have to go through the struggle and torment the Evans family have. It’s time for Alfie’s Law.”
Woolfe, who is a former barrister, delved deeper into his proposal for a law named after little Alfie. “Alfie’s Law” would require the parents defending their child’s life before the state to be granted “equality of arms, namely a fully-funded legal team with access to medical and legal expertise, as the NHS now enjoys without any scrutiny.”
“This independent advocate must not be appointed by Court or the NHS but must be provided at the earliest opportunity, when a hospital is first applying to court,” he added, urging that more potent legal representation be assigned to the parents in such cases. He argued that hospitals have immediate access to first class legal assistance, leaving the parents at a disadvantage. By the time adequate legal help is recruited on the parents side, it is often too late: “To ask many judges to simply roll back their opinion after a long fight seems to be too much to ask,” he said.
Woofle added that it is “shocking” to witness just how marginalized parents have become in the decision-making process over their own child’s welfare.
“It is chilling to see how far the states powers to control our children have come and the power they will use to retain it,” he added. “No one has a monopoly of truth nor the capacity for miracles. Doctors and judges must not confuse themselves with the one above and must not play God.”