LONDON (ChurchMilitant.com) - The appeals court in London is allowing the hospital to pull the plug, contrary to the wishes of the parents of a sick British infant who want to treat their son abroad.
On Monday, Lord Justice Andrew Moylan from the British Appeals Court dismissed the appeal, effectively handing down previous court rulings from the Supreme Court, European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the appeals court and the High Court in London regarding the case involving Alfie Evans, the 23-month-old child with a rare degenerative neurological condition.
Moylan summed up Lord Justice Anthony Hayden's ruling from the High Court, saying, "Treatment is futile as experts both here and abroad agree. Alfie will never make any developmental progress. He has been treated in Alder Hey [in Liverpool, England] since 2015."
"It was not in Alfie's best interests to continue ventilation, that he should only receive palliative care and that it should be carried out by Alder Hey," insisted Moylan.
Luke Mintz, a reporter from Liverpool Echo, tweeted his video of the crowd outside Alder Hey after hearing the court decision:
Moylan also said the appeal of Tom Evans and Kate James, Alfie's parents, to allow the hospital to release their son, so he can receive further treatment for his undiagnosed condition at Bambino Gesu Hospital in Rome is "'irreconcilable' with Alfie's best interests."
In other words, Moylan is ruling against the wishes of the sick toddler's parents, namely that "their views and rights do not take precedence and do not give them the choice to make the decision regarding Alfie," which is the reason for the legal debate over the case and the sick infant's extended stay at Alder Hey.
Alfie's parents' lawyer, Paul Diamond of the Christian Legal Centre's Standing Counsel, said he plans to appeal to the Supreme Court, saying the appeal court "got it wrong" and "only they can reconsider their verdict."
Justice Moylan refused the family's legal team application for an appeal, but Diamond and the family can directly appeal to the Supreme Court before 4 p.m. on Tuesday.
The ECHR ruled March 28 that the hospital could withdraw Alfie from his feeding and breathing after his parents appealed the Liverpool Civil and Family Court High Court ruling from February. The ECHR ruling has been upheld by the court of appeal judges and Supreme Court justices.
Evans and James petitioned the Liverpool court to move Alfie to Bambino Gesu Hospital in Rome for treatment, but Justice Hayden prevented the couple from doing so, ruling in February that Alfie's life support should be turned off. A British appeals court also upheld the February ruling, allowing the sick toddler to die.
Britain's Highest Court said that Alfie should only receive palliative care, but his parents wanted the Rome hospital to provide the toddler with two surgical procedures — a breathing tube into his throat and a feeding tube into his stomach — both of which were suggested.
Evans and James' son was born healthy in May 2016 but after missing a number of developmental milestones, Alfie's parents knew something was wrong. In December of that year, the sick toddler suffered a chest infection and was hospitalized for seizures. He has remained on life support at Alder Hey ever since.
Pope Francis offered his prayers for Alfie Evans in Sunday's Regina Coeli address in St. Peter's Square, saying, "I entrust to your prayers persons like Vincent Lambert in France, and little Alfie Evans in England and [persons] in various countries who live, sometimes for a long time in a state of serious infirmity and are medically assisted for their basic needs."
Vincent Lambert was injured in a 2008 car crash which left him severely brain damaged in a coma as a quadriplegic. His physician told the hospital on April 9 to stop feeding and hydrating the patient within 10 days, against the wishes of Lambert's parents and the advice of other doctors.
"They are delicate, very painful and complex situations. Let us pray that every sick person is always respected in his dignity and cared for in a way that is suitable to his condition, with the unanimous support of family members, doctors and other medical professionals, with great respect for life," continued the Holy Father.