Alfie Evans - The Fight for Dignity & Parental Rights
Alfie Evans is a 21-month-old with an unknown neurological degenerative condition -- and a British court has denied his parent’s appeal to save his life support!
Top bioethics expert Wesley J. Smith breaks down his concerns with the U.K. case in this EWTN Pro-Life Weekly interview.
The Archdiocese of Liverpool have been conspicuously quiet, although there is this downloadable summary which would appear to offer no support whatsoever to Alfie's family, who it incorrectly labels as non Catholics, and mainly deals with the care of staff at the hospital. This would seem somewhat in contrast to the Pope's public support for the toddler:
Following the "statement" or "memo" or whatever it was from the Archdiocese of Liverpool, Alfie's dad, Tom responded to Archbishop McMahon appealing for his help:It is my sincere hope that everything necessary may be done in order to continue compassionately accompanying little Alfie Evans, and that the deep suffering of his parents may be heard. I am praying for Alfie, for his family and for all who are involved.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) April 4, 2018
Archbishop Malcolm Patrick McMahon
Archdiocese of Liverpool
My name is Thomas Evans and I am Alfie’s father. I felt great sadness reading the press release issued by the Archdiocese, concerning my son’s situation. My greatest sorrow results from not having been recognized as a child of Holy Mother Church: I am Catholic, I was baptised and confirmed and I’m looking to you as my shepherd and to the Holy Father as the vicar of Jesus Christ on earth.
That’s why I knocked on the Church’s door asking for help in order to save my son from being euthanised! Alfie is baptised like me and like you, Your Excellency. I would like that prayers for him and for us be addressed to the only real God. I am aware that my son’s death is a real possibility and maybe is not a long way off. I know that heaven is waiting for him as I cannot imagine which kind of sin that innocent soul, nailed to his bed as to a cross, may have committed.
But I’m also aware that his life is precious before God’s eyes and that Alfie himself has a mission to accomplish. Perhaps his mission is to show the entire world the cruelty behind the judge’s words. For this judge stated that Alfie’s life is “futile”, thus supporting the same opinion of the hospital which wants him to die by suffocation.
I am not a doctor, but I can see that my son is alive and I see that he’s not being treated. I’ve been asking the hospital for months and I’m still asking them to let us transfer our child, mine and Kate’s child, God’s child, to the Pope’s hospital which promised to take care of him, as long as Our Lord will allow it and until Alfie will have completed his journey.
Why do they not let us remove our child from that hospital?
Have you asked yourself this question, Your Excellency?
We don’t want to force ourselves upon him and we don’t want therapeutic obstinacy but we would at least like his disease to be diagnosed and we would like him to receive the best possible treatment.
And we do not believe Alder Hey is able to grant this: they showed us and the entire world they are not able to and they just don’t want to do it. They declare they want to replace medical treatment with palliative care. But actually they have been handing out palliative care for months and now it’s that same palliative care they want to withdraw, together with the mechanical ventilation, in order to sedate him and let him die by suffocation.
It seems to me that this is neither right nor Christian. In my opinion this is euthanasia and we do not want our child to be left to die in such a way. Moreover, this might set a further precedent like in Charlie Gard’s case in order to prevent parents from taking care of their sick children, considered a burden by the State because they are ill and “therefore” useless, unproductive and expensive.
So please, Your Excellency, do accept my request for help and bring my voice to the Holy Father, so that everything possible is done to help me and Alfie’s mum Kate to take our child out of Great Britain to be cured until the natural end of his earthly existence. I invoke Your blessing and I pay mine and Kate’s respects.
Liverpool, 15 April 2018
It further emerged that no priest has been to visit the family, and an Italian priest living in London, on hearing this, made the journey to Liverpool to minister to the family.
Further, the family have received an offer of help from a hospital in Rome and have raised the money to airlift him there. This has been confirmed as being perfectly legal:
However, Alder Hey Hospital are not going to let the parents do that with their own child, which seems utterly shocking. Even if Alder Hey are right and Alfie's situation is hopeless, notwithstanding that there another hospital prepared to treat him and an air ambulance on stand-by, why are they prepared to spend thousands and thousands of pounds on preventing his parents from taking him? What's the worst that can happen? He dies anyway (and his parents have the consolation of knowing they tried everything)? Or that he doesn't?@AlderHey what are you hiding? Why won't you let another hospitals doctors with equipment take @Alfiesarmy16 out of your hospital. You're definitely hiding something. #RELEASEALFIEEVANS #savealfieevans #AlfiesArmy pic.twitter.com/tqcHZJLxec— Gary. J. (@Gary_J_EFC) April 12, 2018
Caroline Farrow has been following this case closely and offered this on Twitter earlier regarding Alfie and dignity:
Alfie Evans and Dignity
I want to make a basic point about what dignity is, and what it is not.
As a Catholic Christian, I believe that dignity is something we all possess by virtue of our humanity. We were made in the image and likeness of God.
If you do not believe in God, then the dictionary definition of dignity means being worthy of respect or honour.
The life of baby Alfie Evans is no less deserving of respect or honour because of his need for intensive medical assistance in order to help him survive.
Undignified is something which is applied to behaviour, whether that's people engaging in shouting matches on the streets, or falling out of a taxi blind drunk. When someone is referred to as 'dignified' it means 'having or showing a composed manner that is worthy of respect'.
Using the term dignity to refer to the condition of Alfie Evans, is completely misguided. When people talk about his dignity they are projecting their own feelings of both pity and horror at Alfie's condition. They would not like either themselves or their relatives to be in that condition and that is completely their prerogative.
We should not however, allow our own personal feelings to intrude on the matter. It should not matter what you, or I, or anyone thinks ought to happen to Alfie, it ought to be entirely down to his parents. They are his loving mum and dad, who want to act in his best interests.
To argue that it is in Alfie's best interests to die, is both obscene and absurd. Alfie is patently not dying and for a child who has been on life support for the best part of 15 months, he is in a remarkably good condition, which is no small part thanks to the vigilance of his parents and their team.
There have been a number of issues that Alfie's parents have had with his care - given the heightened emotions surrounding Alder Hey, it's best not to mention them at this time, however the various concerns have been well documented by his team and indeed Steven Wolfe MEP has expressed alarm.
I will post a couple of articles to the bottom of this twit longer which contain further reading about the treatment Alfie's parents want for him (a tracheostomy and PEG feeding tube) but it needs to be remembered that the Bambi Jesu, where Tom and Kate want him to go, is miles ahead of the UK, with respect to care of these severely disabled children. The Bambino is sending children home who are as disabled as Alfie, with trachy and Peg feeding and they have limited life expectancy. This is something that the parents accept, they do not expect a cure, but they want to make the decision about how Alfie is cared for in his remaining time. That is their prerogative and right as his parents.
Alder Hey wish to bring about Alfie's death by removing his ventilator meaning that he will not have the strength and energy to breath unassisted after being dependent on it for such a long time (Though he has been taken off and put back on it on 3 separate occasions when he recovered). It therefore seems astonishing that they are expressing concern that he may die during transportation, even though the risks of this are small. The suffering would be exactly the same as were he to have his ventilation removed and indeed, if Alfie does manage to breath unassisted after his support is removed, the hospital will then be forced to give him morphine to keep him comfortable which will in fact be euthanasia.
Alfie doesn't need a guardian or the state to decide whether it's in best interests to live or die. His parents, who know him best, are his voice and want him to be given a chance at life, along with the opportunity for therapy and treatment should some become available. What they are asking for is not unreasonable and will not cost the NHS a penny. So why are the authorities at Alder Hey, fighting them every step of the way?
The judges have said that Alfie is not in any pain or suffering. So why does his life have to end and why are his parents deemed incapable of judging what is best for him, because they desperately want him to live?