A U.K. judge denied an appeal from Alfie Evans’ parents Monday to have him treated outside the country, saying their parental rights did not matter.
Tom Evans and Kate James, the parents of the critically ill child Alfie Evans, filed a last-minute appeal on April 12 to try to save Alfie’s life by having him treated at a foreign hospital after Justice Anthony Hayden of the U.K. High Court ruled that he should be taken off life support by April 13. Lord Justice Moylan of the U.K. Court of Justice upheld Hayden’s ruling on Monday, however, repeating arguments from both Hayden and staff at Alder Hey hospital, where Alfie has been treated, that it is in Alfie’s “best interest” to take him off life support and allow him to die, according to Life Site News.
Moylan also clarified that, in his view, Tom and Kate’s parental rights did not give them the right to make decisions about Alfie.
“Their views and rights do not take precedence and do not give them the choice to make the decisions regarding Alfie,” Moylan said according to Liverpool Echo.
Tom gave a statement in which he slammed Alder Hey hospital after the court struck down their appeal. He accused the hospital of lying to the police, banning his wife Kate from seeing their son, being negligent in their care for Alfie, and leaving him in conditions of squalor. Tom also claimed he had video evidence of hospital staff falling asleep during times in which they were supposed to be caring for Alfie.
“It’s not over,” Tom said. Both he and Kate intend to keep fighting for the opportunity to continue Alfie’s treatment.
Tom and Kate sought to have Alfie transferred to the Vatican’s Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital in Rome, which has offered to treat him. Alfie, born in May of 2016, suffers from an unknown neurological degenerative condition which hospital staff say has reduced him to a vegetative state and corroded his brain matter. The U.K. High Court, appeals courts, and the European Court of Human Rights have all sided with the decision of hospital staff that continued treatment for Alfie would be futile and that his best interest is to die.
“As has been determined with considerable clarity in this case, Alfie’s best interests are determinative and the court has decided what treatment he should or should not receive. It is precisely because of this judicial determination that Aflie has been kept in Alder Hey Hospital,” Moylan said.
Paul Diamond, Tom and Kate’s lawyer, argued that the hospital had violated Alfie’s rights by unlawfully detaining him. Moylan, however, disagreed on the basis that the court had already decided that it was in Alfie’s best interest to remain at Alder Hey hospital.
“We see no basis for submission that there is a deprivation of liberty under Habeas Corpus or Article 5 of the Human Rights Act. The court expressly determined that it would be lawful, because treatment would be in Alfie’s best interests and that no other available course would be. In our view the arguments advanced on behalf of the parents provide no basis on which Alfie could be said to be detained, or on which he could to be said to be unlawfully detained,” Moylan said, according to Liverpool Echo.
Moylan also addressed Tom’s attempt to remove Alfie from the hospital on Wednesday with the aid of foreign medical staff on the advice of Pavel Stroilov of the Christian Legal Centre. Hospital staff attempted to block Tom and his cohorts from removing Alfie and eventually called the police, which led to a confrontation and ultimately thwarted Tom’s rescue attempt for his son. Moylan said that Stroilov was “a man, not a lawyer” and that his legal advice was false since previous court rulings established that Alfie should remain in the hospital and that his parent’s wishes did not take precedence.
Moylan denied the parents permission to file an appeal to his decision to the U.K. Supreme Court, saying that the parents’ wishes were already well established and that they could not perpetuate a “legal Groundhog Day” by continuing to appeal decisions with the same argument.
The parents do, however, have the right to directly ask the Supreme Court for permission to appeal. Diamond indicated that he would make a direct appeal to the Supreme Court by 4 p.m. local time on Tuesday. The court stayed the removal of Alfie’s life support, pending the decision of the Supreme Court.
Crowds of demonstrators have gathered and remained outside Alder Hey hospital in constant protest to support Alfie and his parents’ attempts to seek continued treatment for him. The protests have allegedly caused road blockages and prevented some staff from entering the hospital. Moylan also said that some of the protesters had entered the intensive care unit. The hospital issued a statement asking the protesters to lower the volume of their demonstrations and to stop honking their car horns since it was disturbing some of the patients, according to The Guardian.
As for Alfie’s future prospects, staff at Bambino Gesu have offered to perform a tracheotomy to improve his aided breathing and a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy so that he can be fed through his stomach. Moylan argued, however, that both Bambino Gesu staff and staff at Alder Hey agree that no hope remains for curative or preventative treatment for Alfie and that he should receive end of life care.
“The terrible reality was that almost the entirety of Alfie’s brain has been eroded, leaving only water and cerebral spinal fluid,” Moylan said, reading from Hayden’s previous decision, according to The Sun. “Treatment is futile as experts both here and abroad agree. Alfie will never make any developmental progress. He has been treated in Alder Hey since 2015.”
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