Saturday 20 October 2018

Parents of baby Alfie Evans to launch new legal challenge over end-of-life care

Family handout photo of Alfie Evans. Photo credit: Alfies Army/Facebook/PA Wire
Family handout photo of Alfie Evans. Photo credit: Alfies Army/Facebook/PA Wire
Tom Evans and Kate James, the parents of Alfie Evans. Photo credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire
People protest outside Alder Hey Hospital where terminally ill 23-month-old Alfie Evans is being cared for. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
People protest outside Alder Hey Hospital where terminally ill 23-month-old Alfie Evans is being cared for .(Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Brian Farmer

The parents of a 23-month-old boy who has been at the centre of a battle for continued life-support treatment are preparing to mount another legal challenge.

Tom Evans, 21, and Kate James, 20, are due to ask Court of Appeal judges on Monday to allow their son Alfie Evans to continue to receive treatment.

The couple, who are from Liverpool, have already lost fights in the High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights.

In February, Mr Justice Hayden ruled that doctors at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool could stop treating Alfie against the wishes of his parents following hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London and Liverpool.

Tom Evans and Kate James, the parents of Alfie Evans. Photo credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire
Tom Evans and Kate James, the parents of Alfie Evans. Photo credit: Philip Toscano/PA Wire

Specialists at Alder Hey said life-support treatment should stop and Mr Justice Hayden said he accepted medical evidence which showed that further treatment was futile.

Court of Appeal judges upheld his ruling.

Supreme Court justices and European Court of Human Rights judges have refused to intervene.

Last week, Mr Justice Hayden endorsed a detailed plan put forward by Alder Hey doctors for withdrawing life-support treatment - after considering a number of issues at a follow-up High Court hearing.

People protest outside Alder Hey Hospital where terminally ill 23-month-old Alfie Evans is being cared for .(Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
People protest outside Alder Hey Hospital where terminally ill 23-month-old Alfie Evans is being cared for .(Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The judge said detail of that plan could not be revealed because Alfie was entitled to privacy at the end of his life.

Bosses at a group which fights for Christians' rights, the Christian Legal Centre, are helping Alfie's parents.

People protest outside Alder Hey Hospital where terminally ill 23-month-old Alfie Evans is being cared for. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
People protest outside Alder Hey Hospital where terminally ill 23-month-old Alfie Evans is being cared for. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

They say lawyers will ask appeal court judges to overturn at least one decision made by Mr Justice Hayden last week.

Alfie's parents last week said their son had improved in recent weeks and they had asked Mr Justice Hayden to allow a new assessment, however he had refused.

Mr Hayden said the unanimous view of medical experts was that Alfie's brain had been eroded by disease and further assessment was pointless.

They also suggested that Alfie was being unlawfully detained at Alder Hey, but the judge also dismissed that suggestion.

Appeal court officials said an appeal court judge had decided that Alfie should continue to receive treatment pending the outcome of the latest hearing.

Judges have heard that Alfie, born on May 9 2016, is in a "semi-vegetative state" and has a degenerative neurological condition doctors had not definitively diagnosed.

Alfie's parents have complained that "the State" is wrongly interfering with their parental choice.

They want to move Alfie to a hospital in Rome or Germany.

Press Association

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News