The parents of critically ill baby Alfie Evans have lost their European Union court fight to stop doctors removing their son from life support.
Tom Evans and Kate James wanted judges at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) to stop doctors at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool from taking their son off life support, but lost their legal battle on Wednesday, reports The Guardian.
The Evans’ had run out of legal options in the UK after their fight to keep their 22-month-old son alive was rejected by the High Court, Court of Appeal judges, and Supreme Court justices.
The ECHR was their last hope, but a spokesman for the EU court said that judges declared the application inadmissible and that switching off the baby’s life support machine against the parents’ wishes was not a human rights violation.
High Court judge Anthony Hayden sided with Alder Hey doctors in a ruling on February 20th that the hospital can withdraw treat from Alfie, who has been in a coma for a year after being struck down by a neurological condition that doctors have been unable to diagnose. The parents had been in continual legal battles since then.
For the first seven months of the little boy’s life, Alfie was developing normally. But then parents noticed developmental delays and “seizure-like” movements before he fell seriously ill with a chest infection and was put on life support at Alder Hey in December 2016.
Doctors Ban Father from Seeing Baby They Want to Take Off Life Support https://t.co/BrsKCwJLDS
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 25, 2018
On Thursday, Tom Evans wrote on Facebook that his son had been “failed disgracefully by the system”, sharing pictures of his son and imploring people to look at him writing, “he is clearly there alive”.
Mr. Evans wrote: “We as parents are not giving up … Our son is about to be murdered, taking [sic] away from us, his innocent life is about to be taken.”
Alder Hey Hospital released a statement following the ECHR decision saying that it would work with Mr. Evans and Ms. James to “agree the most appropriate palliative care plan” in preparation for switching off baby Alfie’s life support.
This is the second time in less than a month that the ECHR rejected parents’ plea to stop a hospital taking their son off life support against their wishes.
On March 6th, Lanre Haastrup and Takesha Thomas lost their battle at the Strasbourg court to stop King’s College Hospital doctors from removing life support from their son Isaiah.
Isaiah suffered brain damage during his mother’s complicated labour — which King’s College Hospital admitted it was partly responsible for, due to “specific issues in monitoring” during his birth.
"Charlie's case raises very profound moral and political questions as to who a child belongs." https://t.co/MqJf94XOoG
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) July 15, 2017
At one point, the hospital was denying Mr. Haastrup visitation of his son when he was near death, administrators claiming the father had ‘verbally abused’ hospital staff in an argument over the withdrawal of baby Isaiah’s life support. Baby Isaiah died March 7th, in the presence of both his parents.
In another high profile case over the summer, the pleas of the parents of Charlie Gard to the hospital, UK courts, and EU court were ignored as they fought to have baby Charlie removed from the care of Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital to seek experimental treatment overseas for his mitochondrial condition.
The courts ordered the hospital take the child off life support and let him die, despite the Gards fundraising over one million pounds for Charlie’s transportation and private hospital care, and numerous figures pledging their help and support including Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump. Baby Charlie died on July 28th, 2017.