Alfie Evans' father says the 23-month-old boy is surviving after being taken off of life support
Doctors have taken a terminally ill British toddler off of life support despite his parents’ pleas — but the family says the little boy is surviving on his own, prompting an emergency hearing in the case, according to reports.
Tom Evans, 21, said his son, 23-month-old Alfie Evans, has continued to live after being taken off of support systems, despite being in a “semi-vegetative state” as a result of a mystery degenerative neurological condition, according to the BBC. Evans said Alfie survived on his own for six hours before doctors provided the child with oxygen and hydration.
“He is now on oxygen. It’s not changing his breathing, but it’s oxygenating his body,” Evans told reporters outside the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital on Tuesday, according to the BBC. “He is still working, he’s doing as good as he can but we do need him to be supporting in the next hour. It’s going to be hard.”
Evans and Alfie’s mother, 20-year-old Kate James, have been in a lengthy battle to keep the ailing toddler on life support. Alfie has been at the Liverpool hospital since December 2016.
However, a series of court rulings sided with doctors who said there was no hope for the boy, according to the Washington Post. The BBC reported that doctors argued that keeping Alfie on a ventilator would be “futile,” “unkind and inhumane.”
On Monday, the European Court of Human Rights rejected the parents’ request to keep doctors at the Liverpool hospital from taking Alfie off of the assistance.
“I faught (sic) hard in court for my son because I know what’s right!!” the grieving father wrote in a Facebook post. “And look where we are now my son is still ALIVE AFTER OVER 10 horrendous scary heartbreaking hours.”
The human rights court’s decision upheld that of Britain’s Supreme Court, in which justices said it would be pointless to take Alfie to Rome for treatment.
Still, the head of the Vatican’s Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital said the Italian defense ministry had a plane ready and waiting to take Alfie to Italy for treatment if the additional Tuesday hearing grants the family’s appeal, according to the Associated Press.
On Monday, Pope Francis voiced his support for Alfie.
“Moved by the prayers and immense solidarity shown little Alfie Evans, I renew my appeal that the suffering of his parents may be heard and that their desire to seek new forms of treatment may be granted,” the Pope tweeted.
Earlier this month, James wrote about the ordeal in an emotional Facebook post.
“How sad is it that someone can tell you where and when your child is going to die? No proper care plan and no respect for us as a family!” she wrote. “No privacy or nothing! I know the date and time my child is going to die and we haven’t even had time as a family to come to terms with this.”
In a fundraiser for Alfie, the family wrote that he was born “healthy and on time” in May 2016. However, the parents soon noticed Alfie was not accomplishing common milestones like lifting his head, maintaining eye contact and eating with his hands, according to the Just Giving fundraising page. Doctors initially believed the boy was simply a “late developer,” but became concerned when he began experiencing spasms and developed an infection.
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In a statement on Tuesday, hospital officials announced that they would not release an update on Alfie’s condition.
The situation is similar to that of another London couple, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, whose son, Charlie, died in July after a lengthy court battle to treat the terminally ill 11-month-old baby. Earlier this year, Takesha Thomas and Lanre Haastrup lost their son, Isaiah, after a judge ruled that doctors could stop providing intensive care treatment to the boy who suffered brain damage.