Alfie Evans: Legal battle toddler dies

Alfie Evans
Alfie had been in Alder Hey since December 2016. (Image: Alfie's Army)

Alfie Evans, the 23-month-old toddler at the centre of a High Court legal battle, has died, nearly a week after his life support was withdrawn.

The boy from Merseyside, who had a degenerative brain condition, died at 02:30 BST, his father Tom Evans said.

On Facebook he wrote: “My gladiator lay down his shield and gained his wings… absolutely heartbroken.”

Alfie’s parents lost all legal challenges to a court ruling allowing the hospital to withdraw ventilation.

The boy had his life support withdrawn on Monday after being in a semi-vegetative state for more than a year.

The legal campaign, launched by Mr Evans and Alfie’s mother Kate James, attracted widespread attention and saw them clash with doctors over the child’s treatment.

A statement from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, where Alfie was treated, said staff expressed their “heartfelt sympathy”.

“All of us feel deeply for Alfie, Kate, Tom and his whole family and our thoughts are with them. This has been a devastating journey for them,” it said.

It asked those wishing to leave tributes to Alfie to place them at the nearby Springfield Park.

Alfie, who was born in May 2016, was first admitted to the hospital the following December after suffering seizures, and had been a patient ever since.

His parents, who live in Bootle, wanted to fly the toddler to an Italian hospital, but this was rejected by doctors who said continuing treatment was “not in Alfie’s best interests”.

Alfie Evans

 

Alder Hey Hospital said scans showed “catastrophic degradation of his brain tissue” and that further treatment was not only “futile” but also “unkind and inhumane”.

The couple heavily criticised medical staff, with Mr Evans suggesting his son was a “prisoner” at the hospital and had been misdiagnosed.

Hospital bosses were backed by the High Court, which ruled in their favour on 20 February, after accepting medical evidence that there was “no hope” for the youngster.

In a four-month legal battle, Alfie’s parents unsuccessfully contested the ruling at the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

The case drew international support including from Pope Francis, who asked that “their desire to seek new forms of treatment may be granted”.

Earlier in April, Mr Evans pleaded with him to “save our son” during a meeting in Rome.

Alfie was granted Italian citizenship on Monday, with the country’s government saying it hoped the toddler could have an “immediate transfer to Italy”.

However, two days later the Court of Appeal upheld a ruling preventing the toddler from travelling abroad after life support was withdrawn.

Supporters of Alfie’s parents protested outside the hospital, prompting its bosses to defend staff who they said had endured a “barrage” of abuse.

On Monday, a group of protesters tried to get into the hospital after the ECHR refused to intervene.

Merseyside Police is investigating claims patients and staff had been intimidated.

On Thursday, Mr Evans thanked supporters, known as Alfie’s Army, but asked them “to go home” so the parents could build a relationship with the hospital to provide the toddler “with the dignity and comfort he needs”.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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