April 26 (UPI) — Parents of terminally ill British toddler Alfie Evans said Thursday they would talk to doctors about taking him home following a failed last-minute appeal to send him to Italy for care.
Tom Evans and Kate James lost an appeal Wednesday after a British Court of Appeal upheld a ruling preventing the 23-month old from traveling abroad following the withdrawal of his life support.
Although the boy had been breathing since his life support was removed, judges in the case sided with doctors who said his undiagnosed degenerative condition had “entirely wiped out” his brain matter — leaving the toddler with no chance of recovery.
Now, Evans says he will ask doctors to let the ill toddler go home.
“We got rejected yesterday to go to Italy unfortunately,” Evans said outside Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool. “We could take it further but would that be the right thing to do, would there be more criticism?”
“So what we do today is we have a meeting with the doctors at Alder Hey and we now start asking to go home.”
The toddler’s parents wanted Alfie moved to the Vatican-linked Bambino Gesu Hospital in Rome. The terminally ill child was granted Italian citizenship Monday and received a tweet of support from Pope Francis.
However, a senior judge in Alfie’s case suggested there is a darker side to some offers of further treatment for the boy, who doctors say has an irreversible neurological condition that has left him in a semi-vegetative state.
The Italian hospital acknowledges that they will not be able to find a cure, but proposed maintaining Alfie’s life as doctors investigate his case.
Lord Justice McFarlane said parents, like those of Alfie Evans, could be vulnerable to receiving bad medical advice, adding that there was evidence that the parents made decisions based on incorrect guidance.
Hospital officials at Alder Hey say they have received “unprecedented personal abuse” from the global backlash to Alfie’s case. The Liverpool hospital has faced several protests in recent weeks, organized by a group calling itself “Alfie’s Army.”
“Having to carry on our usual day-to-day work in a hospital that has required a significant police presence just to keep our patients, staff and visitors safe is completely unacceptable,” the hospital’s chairman, Sir David Henshaw, and chief executive Louise Shepherd said.