UK Hospital Could Pull the Plug for Sick Toddler Thursday

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by Alexander Slavsky  •  •  April 11, 2018   

Comes as High Court in London is expected to decide when to remove the breathing and feeding tubes

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LIVERPOOL, England ( - The parents of a sick British infant are returning to the court that could issue a death sentence. 

Tom Evans and Kate James, parents of Alfie Evans, the 23-month-old child with a rare degenerative neurological condition, confirmed Tuesday on the Alfie's Army Official Facebook page that a hearing at London's High Court for Evans is on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. (London time) despite a request for a week for lawyers to prepare paperwork. The hearing is to determine when Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool, England, can remove Alfie's breathing and feeding tubes. 

"Was notified by legal team today that Justice [Anthony] Hayden has listed the hearing for half 12 tomorrow even though my team asked for one week to go through paperwork," commented Tom Evans on the page. "Tomorrow could be the day [Alfie] is executed as you can see ... he can clearly breathe when he wants to, as well as cough, sneeze, yawn, stretch, swallow, spit etc." 

He can clearly breathe when he wants to, as well as cough, sneeze, yawn, stretch, swallow, spit etc.

On Tuesday, Christian Legal Centre announced that Paul Diamond, a human rights lawyer and the Christian Legal Centre's Standing Counsel, is representing the parents of Alfie at the hearing on Wednesday. Alder Hey applied on Tuesday to the High Court to pull out the sick toddler's breathing and feeding tubes on Thursday. 

Diamond is to present evidence that Alfie's condition has improved, using videos on Facebook of the infant stretching, coughing, breathing on his own and responding to being touched. He is also seeking the court's permission for an independent neurologist to examine the sick infant and issue an updated opinion on his condition. 

"The state must not pass and enforce a death sentence," said Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Legal Centre. "Even at this 11th hour, with heavy odds against us, we will fight to the end alongside Tom and Kate for their son's life."

Justice Hayden in the Family Division of the High Court held the hearing after lawyers from Alder Hey announced Friday in a statement that they were unable "to reach agreement with parents about the most appropriate palliative care plan for their child." 

Steven Woolfe, member of the European Parliament, shared a video on Twitter from Alfie's hearing in support of saving the life of the toddler. 

Evans and James petitioned the High Court in Liverpool to move Alfie to Bambino Gesu Hospital in Rome for treatment, but Hayden prevented the couple from doing so, ruling in February that their son's life support should be turned off. A British appeals court also upheld the ruling, allowing the sick toddler to die.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) also upheld the ruling on March 28 that the hospital could withdraw "life support" after Alfie's parents appealed it in the High Court in Liverpool. The ECHR ruling has been upheld by the court of appeal judges and Supreme Court justices. 

On April 4, Pope Francis tweeted his support for the sick infant: "It is my sincere hope that everything necessary may be done in order to continue compassionately accompanying little Alfie Evans and that the deep suffering of his parents may be heard. I am praying for Alfie, for his family and for all who are involved."

Tom Evans asked the Holy Father to grant asylum for Alfie, which the pope received on March 28. "I am asking the pope to help us. I beg him again, we need to be taken into the Vatican. Here, Alfie has no escape: he will not be accompanied but killed," Evans remarked

Last year, the pope expressed his support for Charlie Gard, a sick 11-month-old baby who died in July after his parents dropped their court battle and life support was removed. 

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. 


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