Alfie Evans and the State 90

Individual cases of huge emotional impact are not something on which I generally feel qualified to comment, and seldom are a good basis for general policy. But the heartbreaking case of little Alfie Evans is so striking I wished to look at it.

The most valuable and complete of many court judgements of the case seems to be the High Court judgement of 20 February, the starting point for the many appeals since. Reading this very carefully, I feel quite certain that the state is taking too much power over individuals in denying the Evans’ family the right to take their son abroad for treatment.

It is worth saying at the start that everybody involved, including the judge, seems genuinely motivated to do the best for little Alfie. It is also fairly plain that there seems no reason to believe that there is ever any chance of recovery. The discussions of whether the little boy’s reactions to stimuli including the touch of his mother, are actual reactions or coincidental convulsions, is terribly, terribly sad.

But I do worry about the reasoning employed. All the medical evidence indicates it is unlikely that Alfie can experience pain or discomfort:

para 21 Prof Haas: a. the majority of Alfie’s reaction to external stimuli (i.e. touching, pain stimulation like pinching, etc., reaction to noise, parents voice etc.) is very likely not a purposeful reaction but very likely caused by seizures (as proven by repeat EEC monitoring)

para 25 Dr M: I believe that is it unlikely that Alfie feels pain or has sensation of discomfort but I cannot be completely certain of this since Alfie has no way of communicating if he is in pain or discomfort.

para 28 The thalami, which I have been told fire the pathways within the white matter which generate sensory perception is, Dr R points out, effectively invisible in the scan. In simple terms the thalami, basal ganglia, the vast majority of the white matter of the brain and a significant degree of the cortex have been wiped out by this remorseless degenerative condition.
29. Painful though it is for F to read Dr R’s observations of Alfie’s current condition, it is necessary for me to set them out:
“Alfie does not show any response other than seizures to tactile, visual or auditory stimulation. He does not show any spontaneous movements. His motor responses are either of an epileptic nature or are spinal reflexes. He is deeply comatose and for all intents and purposes therefore unaware of his surroundings. Although fluctuating, his pupillary responses are abnormal with now only the most subtle, very brief dilatation to exposure to light but no normal constriction. Exposure to loud noises does not elicit any response. There is no response to central painful stimuli other than the occasional seizure. There is no response to painful peripheral stimuli other than seizures or at times spinal reflexes with extension and internal rotation of his arms and less frequently now, of flexion of his legs.”

The judge concludes that, as Alfie is in a semi-vegetative state with a degenerative condition and probably cannot experience any benefit from life such as the touch of his mother, support should be withdrawn and he should be allowed to die with proper palliative care.

But here is the place where I radically disagree: though it is unlikely that Alfie can feel pain or discomfort, the possibility that he MIGHT be able to experience pain and discomfort is the reason the offer from the Vatican to ship him by air ambulance to a hospital there cannot be permitted.

60. Whilst I have, for the reasons stated, rejected the evidence of Dr Hubner, I do not exclude the possibility that travel by Air Ambulance may remain a theoretical option. It requires to be considered however in the context of the matters above and one further important consideration. All agree that it is unsafe to discount the possibility that Alfie continues to experience pain, particularly surrounding his convulsions. The evidence points to this being unlikely but certainly, it can not be excluded.

The judge concludes that the risks of pain in travel by air ambulance, from the “burdensome” air travel and the difficulty of maintaining his care regimen on the air ambulance, rule out his going to Italy.

I have a fundamental problem with this. Throughout the medical reports, the possibility of Alfie experiencing pain and discomfort is not represented as a more significant possibility than that he can experience joy from the touch of his mother – both are viewed as highly unlikely. The argument that he cannot receive further treatment in the UK because he is vegetative, yet cannot travel for it in case he is not, appears to me pernicious.

That is without the lesser point that the capabilities of air ambulances are perhaps here underestimated.

There is also one area where I think Justice Hayden is deplorable. Professor Haas, who is German, concluded his evidence with this powerful paragraph:

“Because of our history in Germany, we’ve learned that there are some things you just don’t do with severely handicapped children. A society must be prepared to look after these severely handicapped children and not decide that life support has to be withdrawn against the will of the parents if there is uncertainty of the feelings of the child, as in this case”.

Justice Hayden takes extreme exception to Professor Haas’ statement, which he refutes at length, concluding:

53. I regard the above as a comprehensive answer to the tendentious views expressed by Professor Haas. No further comment is required by me.

This is completely out of order from Hayden. He is entitled to disagree with Professor Haas, but he is not entitled to describe the good Professor’s honest and reasonable view as “tendentious”.

This case is overreach by the state. It is not a case of the parents demanding perpetual NHS support, it is a case of the parents wishing, at no cost to the state, to leave the country with their severely ill son. As the state’s view is that their son will very shortly die anyway, and it is unlikely it will occasion Alfie any significant discomfort he can feel, I can see no reason that the state should override the wishes of the parents to pursue their hope, however remote, that some span of life of some quality might yet be available to their son.


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90 thoughts on “Alfie Evans and the State

1 2
  • Billy Bostickson

    The argument that he cannot receive further treatment in the UK because he is vegetative, yet cannot travel for it in case he is not, appears to me pernicious. Spot on!

    • Stu

      It’s not.

      Craig seems to be arguing (surely he doesn’t believe) that feeling pain and feeling joy are somehow analogous. The child can have no conception of having a mother or even what a mother is. The child has no way of identifying the touch of his mother as distinct from anything else (and that’s if he has the ability to sense touch).

      70% of his brain is now liquid. If the parents refuse to behave in a rational manner the state has to step in to protect the child.

      • Stu

        Has the polish doctor ever seen the child? The parents were ready to pack him off to an American quack to be experimented on not long ago.

    • Matt

      You could just as well have linked to the stories that report to the same effect.

      Neither source, however, was clear about whether this Polish cancer specialist ever actually examined Alfie Evans – just that she had “studied” and “diagnosed” him. Strangely, the diagnosis hasn’t been reported – I’m sure the countless medical staff who have been looking after Alfie for so long would be curious to know what it is.

      • Aberdoon quine

        It has been reported as an undiagnosed brain illness on the hospital webpage.

        • Matt

          I wasn’t clear. I meant that the Polish cancer specialist’s diagnosis wasn’t divulged in those newspaper reports that told us about it.

  • Michael McNulty

    I think once the state gets its “right to die” it will soon morph into a responsibility to die, to “relieve the burden on one’s family and the state” but in particular the state.

  • Matt


    I think your last paragraph is compelling but I think there still might be reasons for the judge to describe the what Professor Haas said as “tendentious”. Clearly there are many people involved in this tragic case who have an axe to grind, and from the way the Professor has been quoted, it seems he could be one of them.

    In the first place, he was presumably addressing the court based on his medical expertise, but the quoted comments clearly went beyond that into more ethical terrain. Secondly, is what he is quoted as saying even true? Does Germany always prolong the life of every patient (or every child patient) based on the relatives’ wishes?

    I couldn’t help thinking, with the whole “we have learned from our history” bit, that the Professor was skating close to Godwin’s Law to strengthen his case. I could understand the officers of the court feeling that their deliberations might be better served without such grandstanding.


    • craig Post author


      The judge quotes a great many more paragraphs of Prof Haas’ analysis, with approval, as medically sound.

      • Martinned

        Exactly. It’s perfectly possible to endorse the professor’s judgement when he speaks on things he’s an expert on, while telling him off when he strays into Godwin territory.

  • Martinned

    I’m not sure why it would be out of order (for an English judge, other countries have different customs for the drafting of judgments), to slap down a shameless Godwin like that.

  • djm

    The Secret Barrister * would disagree with you

    “So, to summarise: – Government was not involved at all in the decision. – Decision based solely on assessment of Alfie’s best interests – Medical evidence overwhelming – Christian fundamentalists lying about the law to exploit tragedy. – Twitter idiots fuelling fire.

    * twitter feed

    • Billy Bostickson

      Government was not involved at all in the decision?

      You forget the fact that the Judge was appointed by the State, the Judge is handsomely paid by the State, NHS England is run by the UK Parliament and the Department of Health, at the head of which is the Secretary of State for Health. The Government may not have whispered in Hayden’s ear or se t someone over to make sure he is on the square, but do they need to?

      He wouldn’t be where he is today if he didn’t play by the British state’s rule book.

      – Decision based solely on assessment of Alfie’s best interests

      Yes, I’ve heard that before and it’s turned out to be a lie on several occasions. Aysha King’s case is just one of them.

      • Matt

        “On the square” with what? What does it say about this in “the British state’s rule book”?

        • Billy Bostickson

          Thanks for asking!

          Over the years, mystery has surrounded medical freemasonry. I make no assertions about how freemasonry influences medicine as it is an aspect that has been poorly understood due to the lack of information. The grave-vines of medicine are filled with tales of freemasonry influence. Most cannot be proven. Rumours include, methods of obtaining senior positions, maintaining the establishment’s interests, using mental illness as a way to stigmatise those who rock the status quo, corruption in medicine and influencing outcomes of inquiries or complaints.

          One of the hottest rumours is the alleged influence of freemasonry in the Bristol Inquiry .

          … we can conclude that freemasonry is probably involved in most aspects of medicine, UK medical policy and serves to maintain the establishment’s interests. The Freemasons would argue that they have contributed much to medicine. Those who have been victims of freemasonry are unlikely to have their voices heard in an environment where secret societies are not held accountable or scrutinised. Overall, freemasonry will exist in the future without scrutiny or transparency.

          As for Judges:

          Where Freemasonry does play a big part – and this is why so many judges are Masons – is in the process by which appointments to the Bench are made.

          • Matt

            You thank me for asking, but I won’t thank you for answering since you haven’t addressed either of my questions.

  • Rab Docherty

    The judicial and medical consensus appears to be that it is so much easier to let the child die, than to risk the child potentially suffering pain on a likely fruitless journey. It would be refreshing if both judges and medical experts tried the positive approach over the heartless negative. A human life must be respected and treated as something wonderful to be cherished at all costs.

  • Pete

    As I see it, this is the set of options that could happen:

    1. Feels no pain, stays, support removed – no suffering
    2. Feels pain, stays, support removed – small amount of suffering
    3. Feels no pain, leaves, support elsewhere – no suffering
    4. Feels pain, leaves, support elsewhere – elongates suffering, more suffering than 2
    5. Feels no pain, stays, support in UK – no suffering
    6. Feels pain, stays, support in UK – elongates suffering, more suffering than 2

    It surely seems the reasonable option is that of 2 and that which was decided by the consensus of medical professionals, no?

    • craig Post author

      Letting someone die on the off-chance they feel pain – which nobody disputes is “unlikely” – seems a peculiar definition of reasonable.

      • Pete

        Do you agree that minimising the suffering is in the best interest of the individual?

        If you are trying to make sure the least amount of suffering occurs (which I would say is acting in the best interest) on the off-chance that they do feel pain, as unlikely as that is, then I’m not sure why you think that’s peculiar.

        If you could definitively prove that there is no pain it would be a different matter, but we don’t understand enough about consciousness or have the capability to interact with consciousness in order to measure and get a definitive answer.

    • SA

      Your model is too simplistic in any case because it does not quantitate probability. My understanding is that the probability of this unfortunate little boy to experiencing any sensations whatsoever, because of the results of the various scans and tests, is very small probably less than 1% and that is stated because there is no way of placing a 100% certainty with our current level of knowledge. I think that the contradiction here is between saying that he cannot experience pain and therefore we can turn of his life support but using the small possibility of this experience of pain, to prevent him from going to Rome. There is nothing to be gained by anyone to keep Alfie in the Alder Hey and the Pope’s generous offer should be accepted. And I am an atheist.

  • Sam

    You’ve missed the point though – this case is not being driven by reasonable arguments – it’s being driven by unreasonable religious hypocrisy.

    The argument from Alfie’s supporters is that doctors and courts should not decide whether Alfie lives or dies – that it should be God. Fine, then unplug him from the technology and see what God decides.

    The self same people who are demanding Alfie’s right-to-life are also the self same group of religious nut jobs who campaign against research into treatments that would save other children’s (and perhaps future Alfie’s) lives.

    • craig Post author

      People are entitled to their religious beliefs. They do not in any way affect the arguments I have given, which is why I have ignored them.

  • Pucci

    Craig, this is a bit ridiculous. During travel, the baby could suffocate. Could have a bad seizure. Wouldn’t be able to be immediately treated for that and could drown in its own body fluids in next to no time.
    even if it didn’t feel pain.

    • craig Post author

      Yes, and by what mechanism do you think it will die if it doesn’t travel and treatment is withdrawn? He is not just going to fade away without unpleasant internal processes.

  • Hatuey

    God, I hate subjects like this. Can’t we just focus on fun stuff like ww3 and Brexit?

  • Ahimsa

    Surely the deepest wishes of the parents must be honoured above all else, having considered all the evidence presented by medics and feeling into the desire to accept the invitation from Italy.

    They will be the ones who live with this for the rest of their lives and they must be allowed to follow their heart in the knowing that they done all they could for their son.

  • Billy Bostickson

    I am surprised that any parent would let their child be treated at such a disreputable British establishment, let alone trust Doctors there after the organ scandal revelations 25 years ago.

    Doctor ‘hid child’s head in a jar’

    Perhaps local people have chosen to bury the trauma of those evil times deep inside and do not dare to even whisper to their children of the sinister deeds of Professor van Velzen:

    During van Velzen’s time at Alder Hey between 1988 and 1995, he systematically ordered the unethical and illegal stripping of every organ from every child who had had a post-mortem.

    He ignored parents’ wishes even when they told him explicitly that they did not want a full post-mortem, let alone the retention of any of their child’s organs.

    Lies, Theft and Falsification

    According to the Report van Velzen lied to parents. He lied to other doctors. He lied to hospital managers. He stole medical records. He falsified statistics and reports and he encouraged other staff to do the same.

    Mr Speaker, for any parent the death of their child is a tragedy. To bury that child, to grieve, to hold precious their memory over the years is how many families gradually come to terms with their loss.

    It is hard to imagine then the trauma and anguish which each of the Alder Hey parents faced when, many years later, they discovered that their child’s body had not been buried intact as they believed, but had been stripped of their entire internal organs – leaving the body as a shell.

    This happened not to one set of parents in Liverpool but to several hundred. The hospital and the university now admit they will never be able accurately to tell parents what happened to every organ of every child between 1988 and 1995.

    Research Not Advanced One Iota

    What we do now know is that the vast majority of organs that were taken were never used for medical research. Parents cannot even take comfort in the knowledge that their children’s organs were used to help other children. It is clear from the Report that the understanding of cot death – for which van Velzen was funded – was not advanced one iota by his practice of stripping organs from the bodies of children.

    The question in the minds of parents and of others is how van Velzen got away with it for so long. The answer, Mr Speaker, is that the hospital authorities and the University of Liverpool failed to monitor his practices and failed to take action to stop them. Numerous complaints were made. Problems were not properly investigated. Action was not taken.

    Incompetence and Insensitivity

    These failures were compounded by the incompetence and insensitivity of both the hospital and university authorities once the truth did begin to emerge. The hospital seemed overwhelmed by events. The university simply turned its back on parents. Some parents faced up to four funerals as different organs from their children were returned to them at different times. The pain caused to the parents by this dreadful sequence of events is unforgivable.

    Health Secretary Expresses Sorrow

    I am deeply sorry for the wrong that was done to them, their families and their children.
    Those who did wrong will now be held to account.

    • Pete

      Isn’t this akin to saying ‘I’m surprised anyone visits Germany because Hitler used to rule there’ ?

      • Billy Bostickson

        I’m actually surprised that Germany exists at all and is allowed to manufacture anything except sausages after its behavior in the first half of the twentieth century, but that’s a discussion best kept for another thread.

        • Dennis Revell


          Agreed. Morgenthau had the right idea for Germany.

          Who knows, had his plan been implemented the once thriving open state of Yugoslavia may still exist; if any nations deserve Balkanisation they are the UK and the US.


    • Spencer Eagle

      You are right to mention Alder Hey but the casual precedent for child organ theft happened much earlier. ‘Operation Sunshine’ ran between the 1950’s and 1970’s and involved the removal of both still born infants and major body parts from older deceased children – none of which was done with any form of consent. The body parts, principally bones, were removed at the behest of the AEC (Atomic Energy Commision) and were tested both the UK and US by ‘ashing’ the samples and measuring radioactivity.
      The thighbones of more than 2100 children who died in Scotland were analysed for radioactive contamination. Most came from Yorkhill Sick Children’s Hospital in Glasgow between 1959 and 1970, however several English hospitals were also involved.

    • Spencer Eagle

      Alder Hey wasn’t unique or indeed the first instance of the callousness so readily displayed by the medical establishment. Between the 50’s and 70’s ‘Operation Sunshine’ saw the removal of thigh bones and organs from stillborn and recently deceased infants at hospitals in England and Scotland. The project was carried out at the behest of the AEC (Atomic Energy Commission), with the samples being tested for radioactivity. In one example the thighbones of more than 2100 children who died in Scotland were ashed and analysed for radioactive contamination. Most came from Yorkhill Sick Children’s Hospital in Glasgow between 1959 and 1970. In all instances no consent was ever sought or the harvesting revealed to parents or relatives.

    • Spencer Eagle

      Alder Hey wasn’t unique or indeed the first instance of the callousness so readily displayed by the medical establishment. Between the 50’s and 70’s ‘Operation Sunshine’ saw the removal of thigh bones and organs from stillborn and recently deceased infants at hospitals in England and Scotland. The project was carried out at the behest of the AEC (Atomic Energy Commission), with the samples being tested for radioactivity. In one example the thighbones of more than 2100 children who died in Scotland were ashed and analysed for radioactive contamination. Most came from Yorkhill Sick Children’s Hospital in Glasgow between 1959 and 1970. In all instances no consent was ever sought or the harvesting revealed to parents or relatives.

      I have tried to post a direct link to the pdf ‘operation sunshine and the slippery slope’ however something is preventing the link being posted here – google it, it’s well worth a read.

  • Charles

    I have to admit that I have not followed the detail of this terribly sad case, can someone enlighten me?

    What is the purpose of the trip to Italy, is it that the ultimate short term diagnosis is doubted and the there is cause for hope (for medical reasons rather than a miracle)?

    “In simple terms the thalami, basal ganglia, the vast majority of the white matter of the brain and a significant degree of the cortex have been wiped out by this remorseless degenerative condition.”

    Seems pretty conclusive, the poor little chap is going to die in the short term, there is no hope for him.

    But if that isn’t the case and there exists a medical dispute then the Courts have no business getting involved if 3 factors can be satisfied:

    1) There is no conclusive evidence that transporting the patient for alternative treatment will cause additional or disproportionate suffering

    2) A competent medical view exists that alternative treatment is likely to afford benefit

    3) There is no additional cost or unreasonable burden placed on the hospital authority

    As far as I can tell those tests are satisfied therefore Alfie should be allowed to go and I for one will pray for the other option of a Miracle (that certainly won’t do any harm).

    • Pete

      The offer from the hospital in Italy is only for further palliative care, there is no beneficial treatment option.
      This is from a BBC article talking about Bambino Gesu (the Italian hospital): “They said the hospital would give him a tracheotomy and a percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) to allow him to be fed through his stomach.”

      • Charles

        If true, then sadly I agree with the decision of the court (not how it reached it).

        With zero potential benefit but undefined potential risk / detriment then the balance swings to sparing Alfie the journey.

  • Andy

    Will poor little Alfie Evans ever have a decent quality of life? The almost unanimous answer (from people who are experts in this) is no.
    Anyone who has ever had a friend or relative be kept alive with no quality of life whatsoever will know the long, drawn out pain that this causes for those who just wish peace for their loved one.
    I believe it is time that Alfie’s parents were allowed to start the horrific grieving process. They obviously don’t realise this (understandably), but it’s for their own benefit.

  • Spencer Eagle

    This sorry tale all comes back to the infamous ‘appalling vista’ quote of Beelzebub himself, Lord Denning. Be in no doubt, the medical establishment and the judiciary are ‘pissing in the same pot’, both of whom look after the others interests, they cannot be seen to be wrong in the eyes of the public. It is precisely why Aysha King was spirited out of the UK in 2014 for treatment abroad against medical advice. For those with short memories, the parents of the child were subsequently arrested under international warrant, however, to Spain’s credit, they denied the extradition request and following an application to the High Court they were allowed to treat him in Prague. Now an eight year old, he has been cleared of cancer.

    • A. Reid

      But in the King case, the child was being provided with proper treatment in the UK and I believe a later report concluded that the therapy provided abroad, although successful in this case, had a lower probability of success than that planned in the UK.

      • Spencer Eagle

        @A.Ried…..It depends whether ‘this is all we have’ can be considered proper treatment. The far super Proton treatment being sought by the King family was not available in the UK, this is why they went to Prague. Fortunately the Spanish government agreed with them.

        • A. Reid

          All the evidence I have seen suggests that the UK treatment plan was the more likely to be successful. Fortunately, the treatment in Prague proved to be adequate.

          • Spencer Eagle

            Define successful? It was clear to all involved that the treatment in the UK was likely to have left him brain damaged, but alive. The newer Proton treatment saved his life without the damage. I think that was a decision only the parents could make.

          • Nick

            Really? Proton beam therapy is far more effective as it targets the cancer better as a narrower beam. And as it destroys less healthy cells…recovery is better too. Ashya’s parents rightly recognised the dangers of the uk treatment which carried an unacceptably high risk of brain damage. The nhs was ashamed that it would be brought to light that the czechs had superior equipment and superior cancer survivor rates. Just go look at the stats for yourself and tell me the parents were wrong.

  • Charles

    Just had a dark thought.

    Whilst attention is drawn to helpless Alfie Mrs may and her government are considering dropping further bombs on the children of Syria.

    I’m sure Alfie’s case could not have been made less stressful with more money being available to the NHS but certain medical treatments are simply not available in the UK for all patients including children that could be available if our governments stopped bombing children in far off lands.

    • Martinned

      You’re right, Alfie Evans and his parents must be secret MI-5 operatives involved in a false flag operation aimed at distracting us all from the war in Syria!

      • Republicofscotland


        Charle’s comment didn’t infer anything whatsoever over MI5, he merely pointed out that monies used to bomb Syria could have been used elsewhere.

        Your riposte, is a very poor one I thought you to be a bit more sensible than that.

        • Martinned

          It sure looks like he was accusing someone (passive voice, so not sure who) of using this mess as a distraction for Syria. Since he didn’t actually point the finger at anyone, I just added a bit of colour of my own in order to emphasise how crazy this sounds if you state it in the active voice.

  • Mencken

    This is not ‘overreach by the state’ as judges are not ‘the state’. Viz The Daily Mail, which regards judges as ‘Enemies of the State’ when they produce rulings that clash with the policy goals of the Executive.

    • Billy Bostickson

      You forget the fact that the Judge was appointed by the State, the Judge is handsomely paid by the State, NHS England is run by the UK Parliament and the Department of Health, at the head of which is the Secretary of State for Health. The Government may not have whispered in Hayden’s ear or sent someone over to make sure he is on the square, but do they need to? He wouldn’t be where he is today if he didn’t play by the British State’s rule book.

  • John Webster

    No. Let him die. He has no quality of life. Invest in those who have. And all of us should be allowed to plan the time and place of our death to make it as painless and smooth as possible.

  • Michael McNulty

    Had there been some new experimental treatment on offer the doctors would have wanted to keep Alfie alive, not for the youngster’s sake but the experiment’s. I view some doctors as Frankensteins.

    • Kempe

      Even though the lessons learned from that experiment might eventually save the lives of other children? It’s how medical science has advanced.

      • Michael McNulty

        Medical knowledge does not equate to medical treatment. We have cheap drugs which were experimented upon somebody but which the Blair quango NICE won’t allow prescribed. And let’s not forget after the Nazi War Trials and Industrialist Trials there were the Doctors Trials for cruel and deadly experiments on camp inmates. They did it because they could, not for medicine but for genetic study and racial quackery, and military experiments such as hypothermia at sea, oxygen starvation at altitude etc.

        Given the same chance in a world they thought they’d be unaccountable to, many modern doctors would experiment just like the Germans and Japanese did.

  • Daniel

    This is nothing to do with the state interfering with family life. This has to do with the team looking after Alfie sticking up for Alfie and his interests against his parents who are not acting in Alfie’s best interests. His parents are not monsters. They are not experts in dealing with critically ill children and are blinded by their love for him. They cannot see that his condition is incurable, that treatment is doing more harm than good and that the kindest thing to do is let him die. This is not eugenics, it is humane.

    One has to remember that critically unwell patients are very very vulnerable. They can become desperately unwell just by changing their position, to the point where they can have a cardiac arrest. Any transfer of a critically ill patient inevitably makes them worse. In other words it can do them serious harm. This happens during relatively short transfers, of less than an hour duration, never mind an international transfer.

    As a doctor caring for a patient, one is obliged to look after that patient, and do what one believes is correct for that patient. Not for their relatives, parents etc. but the patient themselves. The medical team are looking after what they see as Alfie’s interests and want to prevent Alfie from coming to harm. If these do not coincide with what the parents believe to be Alfie’s interests, it does not mean that the parents should suddenly be allowed to take over. To take it out of the medical realm, if you saw a parent beating a child would you walk away because after all, parents know what is best for the child? Parents do not always know what is best for a child. A transfer is the equivalent of a sound thrashing for Alfie. Of course, the parents are acting out of love for Alfie, I’m not accusing them of being monsters but the reason the judiciary is backing the medical team is because they see that they are trying to protect Alfie from harm. This involves going against the wishes of the parents who are not experts in the care of the critically ill child and because of this and being blinded by love, cannot understand that, tragically, further treatment is futile and potentially harmful.

    In this new era where expert opinion has scorn poured all over it, it is hard to believe that an expert might be correct. In this instance they are entirely correct and acting in Alfie’s best interests. They see that Alfie’s illness is incurable and is getting worse despite everything they do.

    What awaits Alfie in Rome is not earthly paradise and a miracle cure, but essentially more of the same futile care he is getting at the moment. Intensive Care is a gruelling environment which can break fit, strong adults, never mind severely ill children. If Alfie can feel pain, he will have had plenty of severe pain inflicted on him on a daily basis and been exposed to all kinds of threats to his life. Even if one survives intensive care, one can be broken physically and psychologically for years afterwards often the damage is permanent. On balance, for someone to go through this kind of experience, there should be a pay off at the end, i.e. a cure and a return to a reasonable quality of life. If there isn’t it simply becomes torture. Despite what the Daily Mail would have you believe, doctors are not torturers. Actually, what the doctors are doing is torture and given that doctors don’t want to do that, It is time to stop torturing the child. Again, to take it out of the medical realm, if it was being done in someone’s home, that person would be arrested, vilified and locked away for a very long time. Again, this is nothing to do with the state interfering in a family’s life, it is everything about preventing a child from being harmed by the well-meaning but ill-informed parents and the medical establishment.

    No-one wants a loved one to die. Especially not a child. These days we are insulated from it by and large. It only happens in hospital and thanks to medicine, we rarely see children die, or mothers. That does not mean that no children die and actually we just have to accept that it does sometimes and, what is more, sometimes it is actually the best outcome and the outcome where the least harm is done.

    Another thing that really winds me up is that Alfie’s army get worked up about one poor child when thousands die every year in the Middle East killed by British bombs. Children who actually stood a decent chance in life.

  • EoH

    The right to die morphs into a responsibility to die. Surely, a modest proposal.

    As you say, if a child is incapable of feeling in a hospital bed, he would be incapable of telling whether his transport by air ambulance was uncomfortable, let alone unbearable.

    The judge resorted to an obvious irrational claim. He went out of his way to impugn a medical expert’s arguments, which, apart from his rhetorical skills, he seems unqualified to do. It suggests that this judge is more interested in control than in weighing competing interests, and greatly interested, on behalf of his government, in avoiding the appearance that there is an alternative to the decisions of the NHS and his court. Slippery slope and all that. Pity about little Alfie, though.

  • mark777

    What’s really going on here? Back in 2001 Alder Hey Children’s Hospital was at the centre of an ‘Organ Scandal’ involving the retention of hearts and organs from hundreds of children.

    The organs were stripped without permission from babies who died at the hospital between 1988-1996.
    Hospital staff also kept and stored 400 foetuses collected from hospital around the north west of England.
    The findings of an inquiry into the affair have been described by Health Secretary Alan Milburn as “grotesque” and helplines have been set up to deal with calls from distressed parents.

    In 2014 this ‘hospital’ was deemed unsafe:

    Alder Hey was placed in Band 1, a “potentially high risk” category;

    The Standards of surgery at the Merseyside hospital were criticised;

    Just what are they covering up and don’t want the world to know?

  • squirrel

    This is likely a particularly tragic case of vaccine damage. With vaccine-damaged children, the medical system does everything to look the other way. Hence, they first hand-waved away the parent’s concerns over seizures that the boy had earlier:

    “Alfie’s parents have said the neurological issues and seizures came on suddenly around the time of his 4 and 6 month vaccines, and got increasingly worse. Doctors said they cannot explain the condition or what the cause is. Seizures are well-documented side effect of vaccines as are neurological issues and paralysis.”

    If a child becomes seriously brain damaged then the system may seek to blame the parents for shaken baby syndrome.

    I don’t know exactly what is going on here but it wouldn’t surprise me if they are terrified of having Alfie outside their medical control.

    • mark777

      Thanks, Squirrel for the info. Of course, if Baby Alfie is outside their control then other doctors could determine what crimes have occurred.

      Apparently the Nazi state (aka. New World Order) is quite advanced in their mission to implement this ‘Culture of Death’ executing children (and innocent people) all over the world be it in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Vietnam etc. or through abortion, euthanasia, vaccines and other devious means. Always with the complicity of our governments and the mass media covering up their true agenda.

      Truly the ‘Transnational Elite’ behind all this are a satanic cult and sooner or later will pay for their crimes.

    • romar

      A propos of vaccines, s/o posted this – found on Facebook and reposted here: – :
      From Elizabeth Meyer’s link, “Alfie Evans was born healthy but after his 2 month [vaccine] shots started seizing. According to his auntie Vickie Evans, they believe vaccines triggered his condition. There are suspicions that the hospital is trying to cover up malpractice, and both hospital and judge are desperately trying to kill him off before Alfie turns 2 on May 9th because you can only sue for vaccine damage once a child turns 2.
      Because of the amount of international attention this case has garnered, the govt, Big Pharma cannot afford to have any link to vaccines validated. The NHS also has a long history of covering up medical malpractice.”

  • AliB

    I fundamentally disagree, on several levels.
    There seems to be no disagreement amongst the various medical professions- regardless of nationality- that Alfie’s condition is not treatable, and that he is progressing towards dying. Currently, the level of medical intervention i.e. apparatus to assist with breathing i.e. the life support system, and some form of feeding is keeping him alive.
    Who is benefitting from this situation being maintained? Not the child, whose condition is steadily progressing such that there is gradually less and less brain. The parents want to keep him alive for longer, but why?
    Behind the parents is a pro life organisation Christian Legal Centre (CLC), part of a campaign group called Christian Concern known for its opposition to abortion, homosexuality and gender identity issues that is funding their legal fees I do not understand why they consider that God has given life, but not of a sort that can be maintained by the child itself, that removing the life support equates to murder, rather than letting God take over and letting the life takes its natural course. Given that Alfie is 23 months old the medics have hardly rushed to end his life, but have instead given a phenomenal level of support until they have reached the point where they feel it is not in the child’s interest to persist.
    The Italian hospital apparently wants to insert assorted feeding tubes and reaching apparatus- potentially causing Alfie pain and distress- who can tell. To what end? Death is inevitable. In what way is Alfie really alive? If Alfie went there would it be at no cost to the NHS?
    Alfie’s father has now taken out a private prosecution against the medics for murder. What does that say about his state of mind or rationality?
    Yes, you could says, let the parents do whatever they want. But we don’t condone other abuse of children. This, fundamentally, is no different.
    This should have been an opportunity for the parents to sit with and quietly grieve and allow their child to die, peacefully. Instead it has been turned into a media circus, and a religious rabble causing untold upset to other parents of very sick children all in the name of God and pro life. Where is this rabble when other children are living in extreme poverty, or being bombed by weapons sold by our Government? Why is it only foetuses and babies unable to sustain life that are worth making such a noise about?

  • eddie-g

    I strongly disagree with this being framed as a case of the state over-reaching. (Heaven knows the state can over-reach, but this is not it)

    This is a case that hinges on the what is in this poor child’s best interests. The court’s job is to weigh up the arguments the Alder Hey medical team is putting forward, versus those presented by Alfie’s parents, and reach a decision. If the argument is that the court should not be invested with this authority (and if someone else should), then fine, I simply don’t agree. I mean, this is what we have courts for, and daily Family Courts are making decisions about what is in the best interests of a child. (By the way, the religious fanatics who inserted themselves into this case tried this argument on the court, and were told to stop it)

    If the argument is that the court incorrectly decided on the basis of the medical evidence presented – yeah, I really don’t know how you arrive at that. The child is terminally ill, and the basic calculus is this:

    Will he live longer if he remains at Alder Hey, with his current palliative care? or

    Will he live longer if he is allowed to be moved to another hospital, taking into account the risks involved in moving him?

    The court, ultimately, decided that given his condition is terminal and without a known cure, there is no probability of him living longer in a hospital Rome, and when you factor in the risks of transferring him, it isn’t in his best interests to try move him there.

    It’s a heart-breaking case, and it’s quite unpleasant reducing it to a cold mathematical formula, but I really don’t see how the court is wrong (unless they’ve misread the medical expert opinions, about which I am absolutely not qualified to make a judgment).

  • mark777

    (Copied from

    John Paul II Academy for Life speaks out on Alfie Evans

    April 26, 2018 (One Peter Five) – Members of the newly founded John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family (JAHLF), which has been partly established by former members of the Pontifical Academy for Life (PAV), have decided to publish a statement in defense of Alfie Evans and his parents, Tom Evans and Kate James. The following members – who are either Board Members, Advisory Board Members, or simple members – have signed the text below:

    Professor Josef Seifert (President), Doyen Nguyen, M.D., S.T.D, Paul A Byrne MD, Professor Roberto de Mattei, Professor Claudio Pierantoni, Thomas Ward, MD, Philippe Schepens, MD, Professor Carlos Casanova, Dr. Maike Hickson, Professor Luke Gormally, John-Henry Westen, M.A., Christine de Marcellus Vollmer, Mercedes Wilson, Pedro Luis Llera, school director, Virginia Coda Nunziante, Judie Brown, Dame Colleen Bayer, John Bruchalski, MD, Anca Maria Cernea, MD, Richard Fitzgibbons, MD, Professor Stéphane Mercier,Steven W. Mosher, Claude Edward Newbury, MD, Jeanne Smits, Dr. Gerard van den Aardweg, Duke Paul von Oldenburg, Maria Madise.

    For Alfie Evans

    No man and woman of good will can remain indifferent watching the plight of Alfie Evans and his parents – their heroic battle against the tyranny of a medico-legal alliance.

    The 23 month-old boy has remained alive for two days breathing on his own after having been removed from ventilator support on 22/04/18. He was granted Italian citizenship, and a medical air-ambulance was ready to take him to the Bambino Gesù Hospital in Rome for continued appropriate supportive care.

    Yet the High Court of Manchester has ruled on 23/04/18 that the child will not be allowed to fly to Italy!

    Is not the most obvious question that should prick our collective conscience: Who has the natural right to care for Alfie and safeguard his best interest? Is it the state or the child’s parents? It is self-evident that parents, by virtue of the parent-child relationship, have the natural right to act in the best interest and welfare of their child; and the exercise of this right cannot be unjustly denied by coercive state interference except in cases of abuse and neglect.

    The second question which should prick our collective conscience is this: What does “best interest” refer to? To act in the best interest of someone is to will his or her good. The most fundamental good in this earthly life is none other than life itself, of which the most foundational dimension is the biological (vegetative) life. Who is the author of life if not the Creator God Himself? No human being is the author of his own life. The most basic human right is the right to life, and therefore the most fundamental duty of all men and women of good will is to safeguard human life from its very beginning to its natural end. Alfie’s right to life and his parents’ right to do what is in the best interest of their son mean that they must be allowed to fly to the Bambino Gesù Hospital.

    From the above considerations, it is evident that the action of the High Court is a clear violation of basic human rights, both of the right to life and the natural right of parents. In what way then is the Court fulfilling its function as an instrument of justice?

    Any man and woman of good will can recognize that the disregard of the right to life as well as the disregard of the natural right of parents are acts of injustice.

    Therefore, as men and women of faith, we, members of John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family stand in solidarity with the parents of Alfie Evans. We earnestly urge that legal authorities (the Court of Appeal) let Alfie be transferred to the Bambino Gesù Hospital where he may receive appropriate treatment and care. We also respectfully ask that His Holiness Pope Francis renew his support for Alfie, and that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will also intervene on behalf of Alfie, and that every doctor at Alfie’s bedside will not do anything to hasten his death or shorten Alfie’s life.

    This post has been updated with more signatories.

  • Pete

    Craig, there is no hope whatsoever for this child, and certainly not at the Vatican hospital where to parents wish to take him, whose standards of care are evidently much inferior to those at British hospitals. The parents seem to have been used in the most cynical manner by religious and political activists of an especially unpleasant type.

    They argue that Alfie belongs to his parents, not the State. Well no, he doesn’t belong to his parents OR the State, he’s a human being and in our country no human being belongs to anyone. The hospital are acting on HIS best interests as they see it, and quite rightly so.

    As for “Alfie’s Army”, the police have powers to ban demonstrations and they should certainly use them in this case. Intimidating staff, patients and patients’ relatives outside a childrens’ hospital! This was unheard of until these fanatics got going.

  • Gary

    There have now been four or five similar cases in the last few years. Until a few years ago I had not heard of such cases AT ALL.

    Obviously SOMETHING has changed. Perhaps the media never reported on them before? Perhaps the law has changed to allow parents to do things at court that they could not have done before? Perhaps the NHS has changed?

    But the thing that I seem to find linking all of them is that the NHS wish to PREVENT treatment taking place elsewhere. Even if the case is hopeless I cannot understand WHY they would prevent a parent TRYING to help their child.

    The perseverance of both medical professionals and parents/loved ones HAS seen cases where patients recover against all expectation. It has also lead to new breakthroughs in medical care and treatments. We have seen this with extremely premature babies and also with people in persistent vegetative states.

    I understand that medical opinion will not always agree and that parents will always seek an opinion where there is hope. But I CAN’T understand why, in these cases, they seek to PREVENT treatment and PREVENT access.

    We saw, in recent years, parents ‘kidnap’ their own child to take him for treatment elsewhere. EVENTUALLY it was conceded that they had every right to take their son for treatment, but only after they were arrested. To my knowledge the treatment WAS successful.

    I find these cases exceptionally worrying. The state, via the NHS, makes a decision about whether a human being is ‘viable’ not for treatment but for LIFE, then ENFORCES the decision by refusing them to be moved elsewhere to be helped. EVEN IF they are right, should they be acting like this??

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