European Court of Human Rights rejects plea of Alfie Evans’ parents

Father warns Alfie may die today

By Dave Andrusko

Editor’s note. Since this story was first posted, Italy’s ANZA news service has reported that Italy has given Alfie citizenship. How this will ultimately play out is uncertain.

However, as the subhead to this story indicates, Alfie’s father was convinced Alfie’s ventilator would be disconnected today. That apparently will not be the case. NRL News Today will keep you updated.

The parents of Alfie Evans’ slim chances to prevent Alder Hey Hospital from disconnecting their toddler’s ventilator suffered another crushing blow today when European Court of Human Rights judges rejected Tom Evans’ and Kate James’ urgent appeal for a review of the 23-month-old’s case.

“After the European Court of Human Rights refused to intervene in the case this morning, Alfie’s father Tom Evans said he believes his son may die this afternoon,” the Mirror reported.

Born May 9, 2016, Alfie has a terribly degenerative brain disorder that has baffled physicians and specialists. Alfie has been a patient at Alder Hey since December 2016

The decision by the European Court of Human Rights is the latest in an unrelenting string of legal setback the young couple has suffered in their attempt to move their critically ill son to the Vatican-affiliated Bambino Gesù hospital in Rome.

Alder Hey has steadfastly and without compromise opposed the move. They’ve told everyone from trial judge Mr. Justice Hayden to the European Court of Human Rights that Alfie’s condition is terminal and that further treatment would be futile. Hayden argued that maintaining Alfie on a ventilator would compromise his “future dignity.”

Earlier today Steven Woolfe, who is a member of the European Parliament from Great Britain, reposted his letter to the British Secretary of Health Jeremy Hunt on the Facebook of “Alfie’s Army.”

Essentially he is arguing for the importance of a “second opinion” both regarding transporting Alfie to Rome (the hospital insists he could die in the process) and a second opinion “on assessment and treatment [of Alfie] in Rome.”

“I believe the ability of Alder Hey to objectively determine end of life decisions is now gravely flawed,” Woolfe wrote. As of a few hours ago, Woolfe had not received a reply.

The Mirror’s Charlotte Neal updated the situation this morning:

The sister of Alfie’s dad Tom has said her brother is ‘heartbroken’ upstairs at the hospital.

Mr. Evans’ sister Sarah emerged briefly from the hospital to speak to supporters outside the building, where protesters have gathered in support of the toddler.

She said: “Tom is heartbroken upstairs, obviously he can’t come out now.”

Josh Parry of the Liverpool Echo explained that

Having exhausted every legal avenue in the UK–including two attempts to appeal at the highest court in the country– Alfie’s family turned to the European Court for the second time.

However judges at the court today announced they would not be granting permission to appeal–meaning that a previous order to withdraw the youngster’s ventilation will still stand.

The die was cast last week when the nation’s Supreme Court again rejected an appeal from Tom and Kate. This time the court flatly rejected the argument made by attorney Paul Diamond which was essentially “that Alder Hey was illegally imprisoning Alfie by not allowing him to travel to Rome for treatment at the Bambino Gesú,” as Parry summarized it. The Supreme Court went on to add

“Alfie’s parents have done everything in their power to do what they think is best for him even though that is contrary to the views of the doctors. That has inevitably prolonged the period over which he has been given treatment that was determined in February not to be in his best interests. In concluding their judgment, the Supreme Court said:

“There is also no reason for further delay. There will be no further stay of the Court of Appeal’s order. The hospital must be free to do what has been determined to be in Alfie’s best interests. That is the law in this country. No application to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg can or should change that.”