Judge rules Alfie’s ventilator can be turned off

Father vows to fight on

By Dave Andrusko

A furious Tom Evans said today the battle to keep his seriously ill son on a ventilator “isn’t over, this is just the start” moments after Mr. Justice Hayden ruled for Alder Hey Hospital which wishes to turn Alfie’s ventilator off. The judge agreed with medical personnel that although Alfie Evans’ devastating brain illness cannot be diagnosed, it was “ultimately fatal.” They argued that continuing to provide treatment to the 21-month-old is “unkind, unfair and inhumane.”

But in an impromptu news conference outside the Liverpool Civil and Family Court building an angry Evans was having none of that. He said

“Can you believe my son is being sentenced to a death sentence with two days to go? …I’m not crying because I know how wrong they are and I know how strong my boy is. My boy is strong, my boy is comfortable. This isn’t over, this is just the start. I am going to take this NHS down. I’m not giving up. My son ain’t giving up. …

“My son is two years of age and he’s been sentenced to the death penalty. How wrong is that?”

Mr. Evans and Kate James, Alfie’s mother, want to transport Alfie to Italy for further diagnosis and possible treatment and if they do not succeed, transfer their son to Germany.

In annoucing his decision, Justice Hayden said, “I am satisfied that continued ventilatory support is no longer in Alfie’s interests.” His decision followed a seven-day-long hearing.

He was extremely complimentary of Mr. Evans ‘s “extraordinary” efforts on behalf of his son, the Liverpool Echo reported.

He said at one point the questions were so insightful that the judge incorrectly believed that someone else had been writing the questions for him.

He said that Mr. Evans has an impressive knowledge of the paperwork and detailed knowledge of the medical evidence.

Mr. Justice Hayden said Alfie could have had “no better voice” representing him in court than his father, Mr. Evans.

Justice Hayden also discussed the tests that were ordered prior to making his decision.

“In the light of the parents’ entirely understandable concern, a professor was instructed to review the clinical history, the ECGs and the MRI scans.

“It is beyond doubt they confirm a rapidly destructive brain disease.

“The professor also reviewed the birth records and family history, and noted that the MRI scan raised the possibility of either underlying degenerative disorder or a metabolic disorder.”

The Sun newspaper reported “The judge said that he had reached his conclusion with great sadness, adding, ‘Alfie’s need now is for good quality palliative care. He requires peace, quiet and privacy in order that he may conclude his life as he has lived it, with dignity.’”

Ms. James “was emotional as she arrived at the High Court this afternoon, sobbing and saying “I can’t, I can’t” before the hearing began,” The Liverpool Echo reported. “She sat with Alfie’s dad Tom but said she ‘couldn’t be that close’ to the judge and had to be surrounded by family and friends in the public gallery. … Mr. Evans left the court room in tears as the hearing was adjourned for 10 minutes, and several members of the family were also visibly upset.”

The decision was rendered only a few hours ago, so what further steps Mr. Evans has planned have not been revealed. But he declared flatly

“No one – and I repeat no one in this country is taking my boy away from me.”