The Alfie Evans tragedy bodes badly for mankind

Judie Brown

OPINION

The Alfie Evans tragedy bodes badly for mankind

The entire world is watching the UK for news of a sweet baby boy’s fate.

April 27, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Alfie Evans is a 23-month-old baby boywho suffers from a rare disease that has, according to his doctors, destroyed his brain. Whether or not this diagnosis is accurate is not the point.

The questions about this case are not about Alfie’s condition but rather about the hospital. Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, England, took this baby off a ventilator against the wishes of his parents and is not allowing the parents to seek treatment elsewhere. Alfie’s parents have valiantly appealed this decision, even proposing that Alfie be flown to Rome for treatment, but “the judge said all medical experts agreed that further treatment was futile and it would be against Alfie’s best interests to fly to the Vatican’s Bambino Gesù hospital in Rome.”

Alfie’s parents lost all of their appeals and can do nothing else. In the process, mankind has lost as well. The reasons are simple.

The use of the words “futile” and “best interests” are fraught with innuendo. They are subjective terms that can mean whatever the person uttering them wants them to mean! If you are wondering whose best interests are served when planned death is arranged, then you are on the same page we are on the fate of this sweet baby.

Alder Hey Children’s Hospital has violated Alfie’s basic human rights by making this decision, which has been upheld by a British Court of Appeals. Many have protested with letters, with calls, and even with demonstrations outside this deadly hospital, but apparently the court system has made a decision that may, barring a miracle, result in the death of this baby boy.

The sad reality of this case, like so many others in Britain, the USA, and elsewhere, is that human dignity and parental authority matter not if a hospital staff, a medical ethics panel, or a judge decides that they know what is “best” for a child. While we might question where such thinking comes from, it does not take a genius to figure that out. After all, when man usurps the rights of others as he acts in what he may feel is for the greater good, all manner of evil can occur.

John O’Sullivan at National Review nailed it when he wrote of Alfie’s case:

In a movie, Alfie would survive in the last final scene. It’s hard to believe that he will do so in life. We can understand the quite simple emotions that move Alfie’s parents, the crowds of sympathizers, and the Italian diplomats and their voters. But how are we to interpret the official UK decisions? It seems to me (partly on the basis of earlier such conflicts) that all involved will believe passionately that they are doing the right thing. But something else has taken over their thoughts and action: They are now determined to defend their claim to be Alfie’s real parents and their compassionate administration of his inevitable death without pain—against what they see as the primitive sentimentality of those trying to rescue him. They grit their teeth and get on with it, maybe feeling a little noble about it all. And they don’t realize that they are moving by baby steps towards the compulsory euthanasia of the weak and sick.

Yes, for mankind this is the case. Those baby steps have become increasingly prevalent and have generated very little from the community at large—a community that seems to be asleep, unaware of what lies ahead.

This entire tragedy reminds me of Flannery O’Connor’s prescient quote: “In the absence of faith, we govern by tenderness. And tenderness leads to the gas chamber.”

Indeed, the Alfie Evans tragedy bodes badly for mankind.

Judie Brown is president of American Life League.

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3 comments on “The Alfie Evans tragedy bodes badly for mankind

  1. Alfie died at 2:30 am Saturday.
    As he was baptized, confirmed and had no actual sins, please pray for us rest in peace and St. Alfie Evans.

    • [As reported by LifeSiteNews]

      Dorothy Cummings McLean and Diane Montagna

      NEWSBIOETHICSSat Apr 28, 2018 – 4:07 am EST

      BREAKING: Alfie Evans has died
      #Alfieevans, Alfie Evans, Parents Rights

      LIVERPOOL, England, April 28, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Alfie Evans died today in a Liverpool children’s hospital at 2:30 a.m. local time.

      Despite last-minute interventions, including the Italian government’s gift of citizenship to the infant, the child died four days after doctors at the Alder Hey NHS (National Health Service) Foundation ignored his parents’ wishes and removed him from a ventilator.

      His mother Kate James informed well-wishers of the boy’s death by posting a message on the “Alfie’s Army Official” Facebook page.

      “Our baby boy grew his wings tonight at 2:30 am,” the young mother wrote. “We are heart broken. Thank you everyone for all your support.”

      “My gladiator lay down his shield and gained his wings at 02:30… absolutely heartbroken… I LOVE YOU MY GUY,” Thomas Evans said.

      Alfie James Evans was a baptized Catholic, like his father. His mother belongs to the Reformed tradition. If a baptized child before the age of reason dies, he goes straight to heaven, according to Catholic teaching.

      “Baptized and under ‘the age of reason’, he does not need our prayers,” tweeted Dr Joseph Shaw, a Catholic ethicist at Oxford University. “His family, and everyone else involved, do.”

      In a statement issued on its website, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, England, said: “We wish to express our heartfelt sympathy and condolences to Alfie’s family at this extremely distressing time. All of us feel deeply for Alfie, Kate, Tom and his whole family and our thoughts are with them. This has been a devastating journey for them and we would ask that their privacy and the privacy of staff at Alder Hey is respected.”

      On Monday, Alfie’s father Thomas Evans posted a video on Facebook saying that when the hospital staff removed Alfie’s ventilator at 9:17 p.m., he was able to breathe on his own. The toddler lived for more than four days without the machine.

      In the video, Evans said his son’s fingers were beginning to turn blue and Alfie was losing color.

      “Alfie’s sustained his life since 17 minutes past nine,” Thomas Evans said. “He’s needing oxygen but the hospital won’t give him any.”

      In the video, he said his son’s fingers were beginning to turn blue and Alfie was losing color. However, after the parents gave the child mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, the child began to breathe on his own. Later Alfie was given oxygen.

      Alfie’s aunt Sarah Evans posted a message on the “Alfie’s Army Official” Facebook page soon before he died asking supporters for prayers.

      “Our warrior is needing prayers and 100 deep breathes sending to Alfie,” she wrote. “Inhale and exhale then do another 100 please. Please pray for our warrior.”

      Alfie would have turned two on May 9th. A video taken of him on the day of his court-ordered death showed the toddler looking around the room, responsive and alert.

      It is a tragic ending to a sad story that began shortly after Alfie was born to his then-teenage parents. In July 2016, he was referred to hospital for a “divergent squint” (one eye turning outwards). By the time he was four months old, his mother noticed other troubling signs. Alfie’s smile had become less frequent, he was sleeping too much, and he showed little interest in interactions and playing with toys. By six months, he showed signs of significant developmental delay. An MRI showed that his brain was not developing properly.

      Alfie was admitted to Alder Hey hospital’s emergency department on December 14, 2016 after an episode of coughing, high temperature and, according to a subsequent court decision, “rhythmic jerking of all four limbs and his jaw.” The boy was diagnosed with acute viral bronchiolitis and a possible prolonged febrile convulsion. He began to jerk again, and these seizures worsened the next day. Alfie was then treated with Midazolam and then, on the 16th, with Vigabatin instead. A doctor described him as “comatose” from this time forward. On December 19, it was discovered that Alfie had a slow breathing rate and apnea (pauses in breathing). Alfie went into cardiac arrest and was given an oxygen mask.

      He was admitted to the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit, and was later diagnosed with pneumonia. In January 2017, Alfie’s parents were warned he might die. Nevertheless the boy recovered from pneumonia, albeit without any improvement to the health of his brain. Doctors from Alder Hey and additional doctors consulted by Alfie’s parents agreed that the child had a fatal neurodegenerative disorder. It remained undiagnosed to the end.

      When Alfie’s condition declined, the hospital began to pressure his parents to remove him from life support.

      They refused to give permission. Undeterred, the hospital went to court to argue that ending treatment was in the child’s best interests. On February 20, 2018, Mr Justice Heydon of the UK Supreme Court ruled that it was in Alfie’s “best interests” to discontinue treatment, to be removed from his life support, and to receive palliative care at Alder Hey.

      Alfie’s parents appealed the decision before the UK Court of Appeal and the UK Supreme Court before pleading their case before the European Court of Human Rights this March. The ECHR ruled that their appeal to take their son elsewhere in the European Union was “inadmissible” and that the child’s rights under the European Convention on Human Rights were not being violated. The court also refused to block Heydon’s decision that Alfie’s doctors could remove the boy’s life support.

      Alder Hey then applied to the High Court to set a date for his treatment to end. Alfie’s parents responded with more appeals, all of which were denied.

      Pope Francis repeatedly spoke out in support of Alfie’s parents, and an Italian priest, Fr. Gabriele Brusco, offered spiritual help to the Evans family until he was recalled to London.

      On Friday, April 20, the UK High Court denied Alfie’s parents’ final appeal that they be allowed to continue caring for their son and ordered Alder Hey remove his life support on April 23.

  2. May God have mercy on the souls of those who heartlessly caused this innocent’s death.

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