When Alder Hey Hospital doctors removed Alfie from his respirator on April 23, 2018, against the wishes of his parents, the little boy managed to surprise everyone by breathing on his own. For hour upon grueling hour.
Italy had granted Alfie citizenship. The Vatican’s Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital provided medical transport to take him there, and an Italian doctor arrived in Liverpool in hopes of evaluating Alfie, and convincing his attending physicians to allow them to take him. No guarantees, certainly, but at the urging of Pope Francis himself they were willing to try and help the toddler.
But at an emergency hearing, the judge declared that no, Alfie would not be permitted to leave for Italy. This ruling represented, said the judge, “the last chapter in the life of an extraordinary boy.”
Extraordinary indeed. Alfie Evans continues to exceed expectations and is, days after being taken off of life-support, still alive. His heartbreaking story reflects the beauty of the human spirit, the deep love between parent and child, and the terrifying reality that euthanasia laws, combined with a secular totalitarianism, threaten all of us. When the state has the ultimate power to decide who lives and who dies, we and our loved ones are, like Alfie, perpetually at risk. The young boy doesn’t even yet have an official diagnosis for what is described as a degenerative brain condition, he is clearly capable of breathing on his own, and he is just 23 months old. Yet he is being starved to death, as he struggles to breathe. This has left most of us scratching our heads and asking, why?
It would appear that some in power are perhaps hoping for Alfie’s death, because the very fact that he continues to fight, in spite of his mysterious medical condition, flies in the face of their pro-death narrative. Neat and tidy, black and white–with no room for the shades of gray that color so much of life–this worldview renders people either capable of having a good quality of life, or undeserving of the most basic of human rights. It says that society is better-off without anyone who has a disability, or a terminal medical condition. It is Charles Darwin’s survival of the fittest, taken to its logical end.
That there is mystery and sacredness to life, to death, and to the soul is something that simply cannot be accepted by the modern progressive. To err on the side of human life implies a respect for the dignity of human life, which only makes sense within the context of a world created by someone much bigger than ourselves. This of course cannot be, and so we must not only pretend that modern medicine is somehow an exact science, but also that earthly magistrates automatically know best when it comes to who should live and who should die.
I fear that as the West slips further and further into the abyss of secularism, offering sacrifices at the altar of euthanasia (under the dangerous pseudonym “death with dignity”), we will see more and more cases like that of Alfie Evans. The only silver lining I can see here is that no small number of people is crying out for mercy and making their concerns known. Alfie has about as much prayer and support as he could possibly have. But will it be enough?
At an earlier appeals hearing, the question of whether or not it is in “the child’s best interests” to go to Italy was again purportedly at stake. Alfie’s parents have assured the judge that they are not seeking a cure for his still-undiagnosed condition, but “palliative care in line with Catholic principles.” The legal team for Alder Hey insists that Alfie’s ability to breathe does not reflect a “change in circumstances”–which makes one wonder what, exactly, would? What would demonstrate that Alfie is deserving of a shot at a life? And this isn’t the first time Alfie has fought back from the brink of death, either. He had been on life-support previously, after contracting an infection. But in true Alfie-fashion, his small body beat the infection and he was once again able to breathe, without life-support. (Until he caught another chest infection, began having more seizures, and was placed on a ventilator again. And that is where he remained, until April 23rd, when the hospital ordered life-support to be removed.)
Regardless what anyone thinks about the use of extraordinary measures in prolonging life, there is no denying the chilling nature of what we are hearing coming out of the hospital. At today’s hearing, there was testimony that “It was never suggested death would be instantaneous”, and “The tragedy for the parents is that Alfie does look like a happy and healthy child.” Only a fool can fail to see the subtext here: We know what’s best for this child. His suffering, as we hold back nutrition and deprive him of oxygen, is ultimately in his best interests because a child with a brain condition doesn’t deserve to live. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain — Alfie may look and seem healthy, but trust us…he’s better off dead.
Unfortunately, there still seem to be more questions than answers here. What would it hurt Alder Hey, for example, to allow the Evans family to take their son and leave for Italy? When is getting a second medical opinion ever a bad thing? Is this truly just a power play for the culture of death, or is there perhaps more going on with the hospital? Why does this medical facility, which presumably exists for the purpose of healing and helping, want to end this small boy’s life? And before he even has a proper diagnosis?
We may never have the answers to these questions. But, the story is far from over. Above and beyond all expectations, Alfie Evans continues to fight, to breathe, and to live. His courageous (albeit weary) parents refuse to give up, and medical transport to Italy remains on stand-by. All while an entire world is watches the young and helpless David, waging the fight of his life, against the giant, evil, and relentless Goliath of legally-sanctioned murder.
Brianna Heldt is a freelance writer.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.