I have been following little Alfie’s story ever since Charlie Gard died last summer. I couldn’t believe that there would ever be another case like this in the UK.
The world has been gripped by Alfie Evans. Alfie Evans, 23 months old, has been a patient in Alder Hey hospital since December 2016 when he began to suffer seizures. Doctors told parents he had a rare undiagnosed degenerative brain disease. His parents have been at the center of a high court legal battle to allow him to travel to Italy and to keep life support going. Apparently, this was not in Alfie’s best interests.
This isn’t the first high profile case to have surfaced. Last year there was the case of Charlie Gard and his parents who fought a similar battle over his treatment. Again the courts overruled and made the decision to switch his life support off.
Alfie Evans has had immense support from all over the world. His facebook page ‘Alfie Army Offical’ has reached 875,000 members, all supporting his parents and praying for Alfie to prove doctors wrong. They raised £134,000 pound through crowdfunding to get him the best possible treatment. His parents even set up a petition for the hospital to release their son so he could have treatment at another hospital. Over 607,000 people have signed this petition. Alfie literally had an army behind him.
This afternoon, hundreds of balloons, blue and purple in colour, were released from the park behind Alder Hey hospital in memory of little Alfie.
Click here for a timeline of key events.
Politicians now want to introduce new legislation called Alfie’s Law, which would put the decision about a child’s life back in the hands of its parents.
Parents Tom and Kate, have lost all legal challenges, allowing the hospital to withdraw ventilation.
Alfie Evans defied all odds after his life support machine was switched off on Monday 23rd April at approx 9 pm. Alfie miraculously started breathing for himself, but tragically he gained his wings on Saturday 28th April in the early hours of the morning. He survived 4 days without life support, something that the doctors never thought would happen.
On Facebook Alfie’s dad wrote: “My gladiator lay down his shield and gained his wings… absolutely heartbroken.”
All his parents wanted was to give him a chance and allow him to travel to The Bambino Gesu- a paediatric hospital in Rome.
What is Alfie’s Law?
Alfie’s Law would call for a change of the rules which give the courts authority to decide what is in “the best interest” of a terminally ill child.
Its time for a change, the parents should not be kidnapped of their child. Why should the courts decide what is best for your child and ultimately decide if they should die? Currently, the courts can overrule the parent’s decision over the treatment of their child, if they believe its risky or harmful.
MEP Steven Woolfe said, “Parents’ rights should neither be ignored nor dismissed as irrelevant by hospitals and courts, who believe they know best and have the power, money, and resources to overwhelm families who simply want to save their child.”
All the parents of Alfie Evans wanted was a chance, if he was terminal, why were they being denied the chance to take him to Italy. They both clung on to that tiny bit of hope and rightly so. The pope gave his full support, and tweeted “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.” The Pope granted Alfie Italian citizenship, the hospital was ready to admit him, a military helicopter was on standby to transport him with a full medical team in place. Costs of transport and treatment would be covered by the Bambino Gesu hospital.
His parents have been denied everything even up until the last moment. They were hoping to work with Alder Hey, and Tom had asked all supporters/protesters to go home and return to their lives so that they could work together and get Alfie home, so he could pass away with the comfort and dignity that he deserved. Instead, he died in hospital under police guard. How is that right??
So why can courts choose to end the lives of innocent children, especially when continued treatment is being offered, where the child appears responsive, Tom and Kate always uploaded videos that showed Alfie sneezing, stretching, yawning, spitting his dummy out to prove to everyone he could do things, secondly where no diagnosis has been made. Surely it’s the parent’s rights to decide and not for medical professionals and judges to decide.
We absolutely need Alfie’s Law. Should mature, responsible parents really be stopped from exploring and seeking the best medical care available for their children? Even if they fund it themselves and no the risks?
We can not have another terminally ill child who becomes a political prisoner.
RIP Alfie, fly high and shine bright.