Judge rejects request to transport Alfie Evans to Italy

By Dave Andrusko

Evidently there is nothing Alfie Evans can do, no matter how contrary to predictions of the medical “experts,” that will persuade trial judge Justice Hayden to allow his parents to take their very ill toddler to Bambino Gesú Hospital, in Italy.

Doctors at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool took Alfie off the ventilator at roughly 9pm London time. Contrary to assurances made during the seven-day hearing before Justice Hayden that Alfie’s death “could be quite quick” once he was taken off of life-support, Alfie is holding his own almost a day later, breathing independently.

A spokeswoman for the Christian Legal Centre, which is representing Tom Evans and Kate James, said

“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

“An air ambulance is now waiting outside Alder Hey Hospital ready to take Alfie to hospital in Italy.”

But Justice Hayden was unpersuaded, according to Rebecca Koncienzcy and Josh Parry of the Liverpool Echo. He wanted today’s rejection to be the “final chapter in the case of this extraordinary little boy.”

How could he reject the request? According to the story, evidently for two primary reasons.

First that the flight to Italy could

“do further damage,” and that it could trigger “continuous seizures due to stimulations” of the flight.

Second, all of sudden, the hospital’s lawyer tells the court that

the hospital warned parents that he could be alive for “minutes, hours or even days” after his life support was withdrawn.

The Echo reported that the judge

denied the family the right to take Alfie to Rome for treatment – but asked them to consider the possibility of letting Alfie go home.

Whether that was a sincere offer or not (and what it actually means), only time will tell.

The hospital and the judiciary consider anything done on Alfie’s behalf “futile.” While Alfie is receiving water, I’m guessing that is only because even Alder Hey and Judge Hayden worry that withholding water is a step too far.

But he is not being nourished

Why? As Wesley J. Smith observed earlier today

ANH, “artificial nutrition and hydration,” e.g., sustenance delivered through a tube, is considered a medical treatment and “life support.”

Medical treatments — including life support — can be withheld or withdrawn (usually requiring patient or family consent) as part of patient autonomy.

But sometimes, in “futile care” cases — such as this one — it is forced off against a patient or family’s will. So, if Alfie keeps breathing on his own, and if he is being deprived of ANH, he will die slowly of dehydration.

How is that in his best interests?

In pondering all of this, remember that the cause of Alfie’s progressive neurological collapse remains undiagnosed. A quality children’s hospital in Italy is willing to take over his care.

An air ambulance is ready to fly him to Italy, and Alfie was made a citizen to facilitate that transfer.

The doctors were wrong about his inability to breathe on his own. What else might they be mistaken about?

At 2:50 Eastern Standard Time, Tom Evans posted this:

Coming up to 24 hours and he’s fighting with gorgeous his gorgeous features, pink lips, handsome grown up face, and odd cheeky smile now and again🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻😍😍😍