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Aflie Evans, Alder Hey Hospital, and Socialised Medicine

“Britain’s Court of Appeal on Wednesday rejected a new bid by the parents of terminally ill toddler Alfie Evans to take him to Italy and continue his life support against the wishes of his doctors and judges.

Doctors say the 23-month-old boy suffers from a degenerative neurological condition that has left him in a “semi-vegetative state” with almost no brain function. Medics caring for him at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool have said further treatment is futile, and the toddler’s life support was withdrawn Monday after a series of court rulings sided with the doctors and blocked further medical treatment.

Alfie’s parents continued their fight to take him to Italy to be cared for at the Vatican’s children’s hospital, which has said it is willing to take him.

High Court Justice Anthony Hayden dismissed the parents’ case on Tuesday, and said his ruling represented “the final chapter in the life of this extraordinary little boy.” From the US ABC.

Alfie Evans nursed by his mother Kate James at Alder Hey Hospital
Alfie Evans nursed by his mother Kate James at Alder Hey Hospital

People are upset. They are right to be. It is one thing for a hospital to decide it can no longer care for a dying patient. Resources are limited, and bed space, medication, nursing time and other resources which are given to one patient cannot be made available to others, who may be in greater need, or who in the opinion of medical staff have a greater chance of recovery.

It is another thing entirely to use the force of the law to prevent loving parents from taking Alfie to another hospital where treatment is being offered.