Earlier this month, Live Action News reported the story of Alfie Evans, a little boy who many have compared to Charlie Gard. Alfie began having seizures around nine months of age, and his parents sought medical help. But Alfie he caught a chest infection, and had to be put on life support, with doctors predicting he wouldn’t live through the new year. “[H]e managed to beat the infection and start breathing on his own. He came off the vent in March and was on cpap,” his parents wrote on a crowdfunding site. “He was moving and trying to open his eyes!” But Alfie soon faced another setback: he caught another infection, leaving him in a “semi-vegetative” state. But as doctors cannot make a specific diagnosis for Alfie, treatment has been deemed “futile” and the hospital moved to take him off of life support. It’s believed that Alfie may have encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, a rare disorder for which there is no cure.
Alfie’s parents refused to let their son be removed from life support, and court battles quickly began — but like Charlie Gard before him, Alfie has lost every fight. Now, it seems he has lost his final battle: a judge has ruled against Alfie one more time, and set a date for him to die. “This afternoon I have endorsed the care plan constructed by the Trust setting out the provisions for the end of Alfie’s life,” Justice Anthony Hayden said. “That plan has the endorsement of Alfie’s Guardian, who emphasises in effect it is long overdue. It is seven weeks since I declared Alfie’s situation to be contrary to his best interests.”
Hayden also bizarrely criticized Alfie’s parents for publishing videos of Alfie moving and breathing, claiming he was concerned about the issue of “privacy.” “[Alfie] has no say over those videos being taken and put on the Internet. Those videos strike me as at times intrusive of his privacy,” he said, adding, “I ask myself if I were in a bed in a hospital in that condition would I want videos of me in the public. I wonder why it is right for Alfie.”
The Vatican-owned Bambino Gesù children’s hospital in Rome has agreed to take Alfie and treat him, even though their doctors agree with Alder Hey Children’s Hospital that it appears that there is no cure for his condition. It is believed that Alfie will be removed from life support — put to death — tomorrow, April 13th.
Alfie’s case has drawn comparisons to that of Charlie Gard, a little boy who was also left to die by the British medical system. Charlie was diagnosed with a rare RRM2B mitochondrial depletion syndrome. His parents raised over $1.5 million and wanted to take him to the United States for experimental treatment, but the hospital refused to allow them to leave, claiming the treatment would not be beneficial, and because of their delay, this became a self-fulfilling declaration. Charlie’s parents fought for his right to life, but lost every court battle, and Charlie was removed from life support against their wishes. Charlie’s parents were even denied the ability to bring him home to die, and his death caused international anger and heartbreak.
Now, we see the same issue arising again with Alfie Evans, again bringing up the issue of parental rights, and whether doctors should be allowed to overrule the wishes of a child’s parents. In the United Kingdom, it’s clear that parents are no longer allowed to make medical decisions for their own children, and the consequences are fatal.