“There is also no reason for further delay,” court says
By Dave Andrusko
For a second time, Great Britain’s highest court has rejected the application of Alfie Evans’ parents to be allowed to appeal a court order to turn off their 23-month-old son’s ventilator. A spokesperson for the Supreme Court said, “Having considered submissions from the parties ‘on paper’, in the usual way, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom has refused permission for the parents to appeal.”
The Supreme Court also approved a plan drawn up by the Alder Hey Childrens’ Hospital “for withdrawing treatment and bringing the 23-month-old’s life to an end,” as the BBC characterized the action.
In a last ditch effort, Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which is representing Tom Evans and Kate James, told reporters, “We are going to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights hoping we can stay the end of life order our courts have made.”
However last month, an ECHR committee comprised of three judges turned down Tom and Kate. A spokesperson for the ECHR said at the time, “The European Court of Human Rights has today declared the application Evans v. the United Kingdom inadmissible, finding that there was no appearance of a violation of the rights and freedoms set out in the European Convention on Human Rights.”
The parents have sought to move Alfie to the Vatican-affiliated Bambino Gesù hospital in Rome. Alder Hey has consistently opposed the move on various grounds principally that Alfie’s condition was terminal and that further treatment would be futile. The trial judge, Mr. Justice Hayden argued that maintaining Alfie on a ventilator would compromise his “future dignity.”
In addition, they have warned that Alfie might not survive the transport, an odd observation in light of experts’ opinion that Alfie will die within minutes once his ventilator is disconnected.
Writing on his Facebook page, Mr. Evans’ anger and desperation was transparent:
HE ISNT SUFFERING HE ISNT IN PAIN
HE ISNT DIAGNOSED
HE BEEN LEFT ON A ET TUBE FOR 15 MONTHS
HIS FEEDING TUBE HASNT BEEN CHANGED FOR 4 MONYHS
NOW WE HAVE MILAN, GENOA, ROME AND MUNICH ALL OFFERING HELP FOR ALFIE
AS WELL AS HAVING THREE AIR AMBULANCE COMPANIES WHO WOULD TAKE ALFIE😡😡😡
WHAT MORE DO I DO😥😥😥
The Supreme Court expressed sympathy in its opinion, but its message was unbudging. The judges 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 Josh Parry of the Liverpool Echo summarized it. Diamond
claimed that denying the family the right to take Alfie to Rome was a ‘deprivation of his liberties’ and that the court’s previous decision to judge the case solely on the best interests of Alfie was wrong.
The court heard: “The parents have parental rights, as recognised both in the Children’s Act and in Article 8 [of the Human Rights Act] that they have the right to remove the child unless there is an order in place removing their right.”
Mr. Diamond also claimed the case was “not about determining Alfie’s best interests,” but was “about a father who still has parental rights, hoping to remove his child from the hospital.”
In its opinion, the Supreme Court wrote
“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.”
Not surprisingly, the potential involvement of the Vatican went unmentioned in the Court’s opinion. Tom Evans had a private meeting Tuesday with Pope Francis after which (as the Daily Mail’s Martin Robinson described it) “The Pontiff agreed to ramp up the campaign to stop his life support being switched off by Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool.” As NRL News Today described it
Robinson added that “Alfie’s father also asked the Pope to consider granting his son asylum” and told him
‘Please help us save our innocent child and give us the grace of asylum to keep our family safe and to stop all of this.
‘If your holiness helps our child you will be potentially saving the future for our children in the UK, especially the disabled.
‘We pray the problem we are facing is solved peacefully and respectfully no child deserves this, especially not a child of God’.