Update: On Saturday, April 28, 2018, little Alfie Evans passed away. On Facebook, the child’s father, Tom Evans, wrote: “My gladiator lay down his shield and gained his wings … absolutely heartbroken.”
The article below was published on Friday, before this sad turn of events.
“Frankly, what is happening today, what is happening right now, is a form of state-sponsored euthanasia, and I hate it.” Those were the blunt words of Nigel Farage, the British political analyst and broadcaster, on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” Thursday night, in regard to the heartbreaking case of young Alfie Evans.
The child, just under two years old, is in what doctors call a semi-vegetative state and has been suffering from a degenerative neurological condition (he’s shown above, before he was taken off the ventilator).
“Our state-run medical system decides there is nothing else that can be done [for the child], and, backed up by state courts, they make a decision that those parents are not fit to move their child somewhere else,” Farage added. Alternative treatments are available for the tot elsewhere in Europe, he pointed out, but the government has so far prevented the family from accessing them.
“This gets to the absolute heart of how much freedom does the individual have. How much decision-making process do the parents have. Or are our children now owned by the state?” said Farage.
“It’s almost like they broke Alfie’s father today,” said host Laura Ingraham, noting a distinct change in the parents’ tone on Thursday. Tom Evans, the child’s father, posted Thursday on social media that well-meaning protesters who have been fighting night and day on Alfie’s behalf should return to their regular lives.
“It sounds like he was threatened,” she added.
The battle to free 23-month-old Alfie Evans from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool is not over, but it may be coming to a close. The most recent updates to the “Alfie’s Army” social media accounts indicate it appears that the parents’ goal for the ill little boy is now to take him home.
The Evans family has been fighting Alder Hey Children’s Hospital and the court system to regain their choice of treatment for Alfie. On Monday, despite the parents’ wishes, the hospital removed the boy’s life support. Though the hospital said Alfie would likely live only a few minutes, he started breathing on his own and continues to do so.
The child now has Italian citizenship. After papal intervention at the parents’ request, a Vatican-connected children’s hospital is ready to transport him to Rome and continue his treatment. The hospital and the courts, however, have blocked the child’s transfer out of the hospital.
Supporters worldwide have held protests and vigils. One such vigil led by Rev. Patrick Mahoney took place Thursday morning in Washington, D.C., at the British embassy.
On Thursday afternoon, Alfie’s parents issued a statement on the Alfie’s Army Instagram account. The statement was in the form of a photograph of a typed sheet.
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“We are very grateful and we appreciate all the support we have received from around the world, including from our Italian and Polish supporters, who have dedicated their time and support to our incredible fight,” the statement said in part. “We would now ask you to return back to your everyday lives and allow myself, Kate and Alder Hey to form a relationship, build a bridge and walk across it … We now wish for privacy for everyone concerned … In Alfie’s interests we will work with his treating team on a plan that provides our boy with the dignity and comfort he needs.”
The statement also praised and thanked the Alder Hey staff. Tom Evans noted the staff’s “dignity” and “professionalism.” He acknowledged that recent events have been straining and difficult for the hospital staff at all levels.
In a Facebook post on the Alfie’s Army page on Thursday, which also included the photographed, typewritten statement referenced above, Tom Evans added, “We ask you to continue to support but no protesting or threats etc toward staff.”
After the parents’ statement, Daniel Evans, the child’s uncle, added something of a clarification to the Alfie’s Army Instagram account: “[Alfie’s parents] aim to get him where they have always desperately wanted him: HOME. And with today’s positive meeting this could be a goal complete for Tom and Kate.”
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On Tuesday, The Telegraph reported, “But a doctor treating Alfie, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said that for Alfie to be allowed home would require a ‘sea change’ in attitude from the child’s family, and they feared that in the ‘worst case’ they would try to take the boy abroad.”
Could Thursday’s statements released by Alfie’s parents represent their attempt to demonstrate such a sea change? Might Alder Hey recognize the statements as being made in good faith and allow the parents to take their baby home?
“If a society is best judged by the quality of its mercy, well, Britain’s socialized medical system appears to be failing that test,” said Ingraham.
“We can only pray at this point — and hope this never happens in this country,” she added.
Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and a regular contributor to LifeZette.