Doctors can stop providing life support treatment to 21-month-old Alfie Evans against his parents’ wishes, the High Court has ruled.
Doctors at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool said continuing life-support was “unkind, unfair and inhumane”, but Alfie’s parents disagree.
Judge Mr Justice Hayden said Alfie was now only being kept alive by a ventilator and therefore: “It drives me reluctantly, and with great sadness, to one conclusion.
“What Alfie needs now is good quality palliative care which will keep him as comfortable as possible while sustaining his life. He requires peace, quiet, stability, so that he may conclude his life as he has lived it.”
“I am satisfied that continued ventilatory support is no longer in Alfie’s interests. This decision I appreciate will be devastating news to Alfie’s parents,” he added.
The judge paid tribute to Alfie’s parents, saying they had tried to explore every avenue. The child’s mother had left court before the judge had concluded his announcement, and Alfie’s father broke down at the judgment.
His parents had wanted to take him to the Bambino Gesù hospital in Rome after three consultants offered to operate on him to improve his breathing, allowing him to survive for an “undefined period”.
Outside the court, around 30 member of “Alfie’s Army” had gathered to express their support for the parents. As news of the decision reached them, supporters stood in silence and wiped away tears.