The parents of Alfie Evans are challenging an emergency High Court ruling blocking the infant from travelling to Italy for continued treatment. After having his breathing apparatus removed on Monday, Alfie Evans survived last night breathing unaided.
Earlier in the week, Alfie was granted Italian citizenship after his father, Tom Evans, met with Pope Francis in Rome on April 18th to appeal for prayer and support. The boy’s parents had hoped that the court would allow him to move to the Vatican’s Bambino Gesù children’s hospital.
Judge Anthony Hayden ruled that travel was not in Alfie’s best interest, however, and said last night that this will be the “final chapter in the case of this extraordinary little boy.” The court hearing ruled that Alfie will have to remain at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool or return home with his parents. The judge rejected claims the boy’s health was showing signs of improvement, stating: “The brain cannot regenerate itself and there is virtually nothing of his brain left.” Instead, he said that Alfie’s continued life was a “shaft of light” and a “special opportunity” for the boy’s parents to spend time with him rather than making legal appeals.
An air ambulance had been on high readiness to bring Alfie to Italy had the High Court hearing approved his transfer. His parents, Tom Evans and Kate James, had recently said that their son had grown “stronger and more responsive,” and that he was able to take breaths on his own as well as coughing, swallowing and yawning.
Doctors at Alder Hey were surprised when Alfie Evans survived Monday night without a ventilator which eventually prompted them to continue to give the child water and oxygen. The hospital has been the site of protests as supporters calling themselves “Alfie’s Army” called on the hospital to allow the boy to be transferred.
As well as the protesters and the Pope, Alfie’s plight has attracted other high profile figures to his cause including the Brazilian Bishops conference and Bishop Robert Barron.
The power of love is defeating the cynicism of those who have pulled the plug. All my support to #Alfie and his extraordinary parents.
— Antonio Tajani (@EP_President) April 24, 2018
A UK hospital is holding an Italian citizen hostage and intends to deprive him of life-giving treatment against the wishes of his parents. @BorisJohnson & @foreignoffice must act quickly to let Alfie live. https://t.co/rJtMBGXhzs @ItalyinUK #AlfieEvans #AlfiesArmy
— Sir Edward Leigh MP (@EdwardLeighMP) April 23, 2018
Alfie Evans must be saved! His brave little body has proved again that the miracle of life can be stronger than death. Perhaps all that's needed is some good will on the part of decision makers. Alfie, we pray for you and your recovery!
— Andrzej Duda (@AndrzejDuda) April 25, 2018