Alfie Evans, the British toddler at the center of an international controversy over his parents’ right to seek treatment for his medical care, may soon be returning home for what may be his final days, The Mirror is reporting. He was taken off of life support two days ago.
Who Is Alfie Evans?
Alfie Evans was born on May 9, 2016, to parents Tom Evans and Kate James of Bootle, England. Not long after his birth, he began having debilitating seizures. Doctors diagnosed him with a degenerative neurological condition, although a specific diagnosis remains elusive.
He has been in a vegetative state for almost a year.
Why Is The Law Involved?
Long story short: Alfie lives in the U.K., where healthcare is free and provided by the government -specifically, the National Health Service (NHS). Further, U.K. law allows doctors to override parents’ wishes in regards to medical care if it’s in the child’s “best interests.”
Once doctors determined that Alfie’s condition was fatal and unlikely to respond to treatment, his parents’ hands were tied – at least, as regards to getting him further care. And when the parents tried to pursue other options. The Alder Hey Children’s Hospital NHS Foundation Trust went to court to block any efforts to get him medical care, as BBC News reports.
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) April 26, 2018
Similarities To The Charlie Gard Case
If this all sounds vaguely familiar, that’s because last summer a similar story dominated the headlines.
British toddler Charlie Gard, like Alfie, had been diagnosed with a fatal disease, and U.K. doctors fought against his parents over the right to get him continued medical care, including efforts to come to the U.S. for care. None other than Donald Trump offered to help facilitate the trip, according to The Guardian. That trip never materialized, and Charlie died in July 2017.
Italy, Poland, And The Vatican Get Involved
Alfie’s parents have not expressed any interest in coming to the U.S. for treatment, and Donald Trump has not yet mentioned this case. Italy, Poland, and the Vatican all have, however. Specifically, Alfie’s parents have been angling to be allowed to take him to an Italian hospital with ties to the Vatican for treatment. Similarly, devoutly-Catholic Poland has also taken up Alfie’s cause, according to The Mirror.
Meanwhile, U.K. courts continue to deny Alfie’s parents the right to take him out of the country for medical treatment.
Alfie’s Final Days?
Two days ago, Alfie’s life support was withdrawn, against the fervent objections of his parents. Meanwhile, his parents and their supporters are asking the courts to allow Mr. and Mrs. Evans to take him home.
His dad, Tom, says that Alfie is doing surprisingly well, over 60 hours after having been removed from life support. He says the boy’s mom is “keeping him alive with cuddles,” and that he could potentially live for months or even years.
“For the third day now, there’s been not one single problem with him.”