Alfie Evans’ parents DROP legal battle to fly him to Italy

Alder Hey’s doctors ‘hate us and look down on us because we’re not like them’ says Alfie Evans’ father as NHS staff in Liverpool are warned to hide their uniforms in public amid threats from internet trolls

  • Terminally ill toddler Alfie Evans had his life support removed on Monday night 
  • Yesterday Court of Appeal judges rejected a fresh bid to let him fly to Rome   
  • Alfie’s mother Kate James posted moving footage of her son online last night
  • Staff at Alder Hey Hospital in LIverpool say they have faced a ‘barrage’ of abuse 
  • Alfie’s father wants three doctors prosecuted for conspiracy to murder his son

Alfie Evans’ father says his son’s doctors ‘hate us’ because ‘we’re not like them’ as it emerged NHS staff in Liverpool have been warned to hide their uniforms in case they are abused because of the toddler’s tragic case.

Tom Evans has accused Alder Hey medics of ‘looking down on us’ and treating family like ‘criminals’ because they are fighting to save his life.

His war of words with his son’s doctors came as he urged them to let him and Alfie’s mother Kate James take him home as protests to secure his release took place across the UK and outside the British embassies in Poland and Ireland.

Mr Evans, who wants three of his doctors prosecuted for conspiracy to murder, said: ‘They hate us. They don’t like us because I’ve fought against them for so long and I’m right’.

He added: ‘We’re not like them. We walk around the corridors and they pop into other cubicles to avoid us. They give us some horrible smug look as if we’re in the wrong. It’s like we’re criminals and we’re being looked down on’.

NHS staff on Merseyside have been told to hide their uniforms and ID in case they are abused because of Alfie Evans’ plight, it was revealed today.

It came after ‘sick’ and ‘psychotic’ minority of Alfie Evans’ supporters threatened to ‘burn down’ Alder Hey and wished harm on doctors as it was revealed police are ready to arrest the trolls. 

Tom Evans (pictured today showing his son’s photo) said he and the ‘warrior’ toddler’s mother Kate James will meet with Alder Hey’s doctors but he believed they ‘hate’ the couple

Alfie’s mother Kate James posted another picture on a Facebook supporters’ group last night as he continues to cling to life

Alfie Evans supporters continue to protest outside Alder Hey Childrens Hospital – but NHS workers in the city have been urged to hide their uniforms and ID

The Royal Liverpool Hospital Trust has emailed the warning to its 5,500 workers urging them to be vigilant on their way to and from work. 

In recent days some internet trolls have even named the doctors responsible for his care – despite a court order making it illegal to do so – and staff had received phone calls from people accusing them of being ‘murderers’ and ‘killers’. 

Alfie’s parents have repeatedly urged people not to threaten anyone over the tragic plight of their son because it was damaging their campaign.

The abuse has also outraged the majority of their peaceful supporters who have gathered in their hundreds outside the hospital most days.   

In a powerful open letter about the case shared last night, the children’s hospital trust said ‘remarkable staff’ have been the target of ‘unprecedented personal abuse’ as part of the Alfie Evans case.

Now healthcare workers at the Royal Liverpool Trust are being advised to cover up their uniforms and not wear hospital ID off site.

It is understood staff at the trust received an email recommending measures to be taken regarding uniform and identification off the hospital site. 

A spokesman for the Royal Liverpool said: ‘Following local reports of abuse towards NHS staff, we have provided our staff with advice regarding their own safety and security.

‘Abuse of NHS staff or others whose role is to protect and care for others should not be tolerated.’

Supporters shared this photo of mother Kate James cradling her son at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool, where doctors have withdrawn life support. He is still alive more than 62 hours later

This picture of Alfie and his father sleeping in the background was posted on Facebook at midnight

Police in Liverpool are still guarding Alder Hey and have said they are monitoring social media posts relating to Alfie Evans in a bid to stop ‘malicious’ messages and will arrest people responsible.    

Mr Evans says Alfie’s mother has kept her son alive by clutching him to her chest in the 62 hours since his life support has been switched off.

Alder Hey’s doctors ‘hate us and look down on us because we’re not like them’, says father

Alder Hey’s doctors ‘hate’ and look down on Alfie’s parents and family, his father said today.

Tom Evans says medics avoid them in corridors and give them ‘horrible smug looks’.

Mr Evans wants three doctors prosecuted for conspiracy to murder his son.

He told LBC: ‘They hate us. They don’t like us, we’re not like them’.

When asked why, he responded: Because I’ve fought against them for so long and I’m right.

‘We’ve tried to work with them but they’ve acted aggressively towards us. They’ve fought so hard towards us. 

‘We walk around the corridors and they pop into other cubicles to avoid us. 

‘They give us some horrible smug look as if we’re in the wrong. It’s like we’re criminals and we’re being looked down on’.

He added: I feel like I’m in a maximum security [prison] and they’re looking down on us.  If this was a general case they would have let home go home by now’.

Kate James has not left the 23-month-old’s side since he was taken off a ventilator on Monday at 9pm as she and Tom Evans today begged Alder Hey in Liverpool to let them take him home.  

Mr Evans said he and the ‘warrior’ toddler’s mother will meet with doctors to discuss leaving because he believes his son could survive for ‘months, possibly years’.

He said: ‘Alfie’s fought through the night the last two nights because he’s been lying on Kate’s chest non-stop. And him and his mum have become closer now more than ever before’.   

Alfie’s father has revealed they will not go to court again to try to get him to Italy if they can go home, and said Alder Hey’s doctors ‘hate us’ and ‘look down on us’ because they have fought so hard to save their son.

He added: ‘He’s still breathing on his own and going strong. It’s not a miracle – it’s a misdiagnosis. As I sit next to Alfie’s bedside, every second of every day, it encourages me more and more that he will live for ‘x’ amount of months, possibly years.’  

The couple held another vigil at his bedside overnight and posted video and photographs of their son sleeping peacefully and even appearing to smile at one point as he pulled through. 

Yesterday Court of Appeal judges rejected their plea for him to be flown to the Pope’s children’s hospital in Rome.

Mr Evans said they would not be going to the Supreme Court today to pursue their Italian plan and said: ‘We got rejected yesterday to go to Italy unfortunately. We could take it further, but would it be the right thing to do? 

‘So what we do today, we have a meeting with doctors at Alder Hey and now start asking to go home. Alfie doesn’t need intensive care no more.’

But Mr Evans has threatened more legal action if this ‘doesn’t go well’.

Mr Evans insists that because his son is still alive it proves doctors misdiagnosed him. 

He said: ‘Alfie doesn’t need help now. Some people say it’s a miracle – it’s a misdiagnosis. He hasn’t woke up and he is a bit weak but we ask to go home.’  

Mr Evans said the family did have ‘appeals to explore’.

He said: ‘All I ask for now is for this meeting to be a positive one and I hope to have Alfie, on the terms of mine and Alder Hey, to be home within a day or two.

‘If the meeting doesn’t go well today, well then I’ll go back to court.’ 

When asked if they would actually flee to Italy if they ever got home.

Mr Evans said: ‘I think if we could find a way to get to Italy we could wake him up. I wouldn’t take advantage of having Alfie home. I would sustain his life at home with the help of private doctors. We would make him comfortable and happy’. 

‘Alfie’s fought through the night because she has been lying on her chest non-stop. He’s closer with his mum than ever before’. 

Alfie’s mother, Kate James, posted footage of herself stroking her son’s face at Alder Hey Hospital, Liverpool, where doctors removed his ventilator on Monday night. 

She wrote on Facebook: ‘My whole entire world I love you so much baby boy’ and at 1am she posted a photo of her son apparently smiling in his sleep with the message: ‘How gorgeous is this boy tho (sic)’. 

It came after the 23-month-old’s parents lost their latest appeal to have their terminally ill son transferred to Italy for treatment yesterday. 

Friends were seen bringing ventilation equipment and a defibrillator to the hospital following calls from Alfie’s aunt Sara on Facebook yesterday. 

It is unlikely relatives would be able to use such equipment on Alfie, who suffers from a degenerative neurological condition, as to do so would be in breach of a court order.    

Alfie’s mother, Kate James, posted footage of herself stroking her son’s face at Alder Hey Hospital, Liverpool, where doctors removed his ventilator on Monday night

Saying Alfie had needed his life sustaining three times, Mr Evans said: ‘He’s comfortable, content, fighting – the three words I’ve used all the way through this case. He’s more comfortable now he’s got no tube and he’s breathing for himself.

‘I don’t want to be big-headed and say, ‘I told you so’, but we had to fight hard against this to say, ‘Remove the drugs, remove the machine’, and he’s doing it now.

Q&A: Can Alfie be saved?

Can doctors end Alfie’s life against his parents’ wishes?

Alder Hey Hospital took Alfie’s case to the High Court and a judge agreed to allow them to end his treatment because it was not in his best interests.

The Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights all rejected appeals by his parents, who believe they should have the final say on their son’s treatment.  

Can the doctors change their mind and not turn off his life support?

Yes. Alder Hey could go back to the High Court to stop the order they fought for this year – but it is highly unlikely.

The process of gaining a Consent Order could be done on an urgent basis and completed in less than two hours.

Experts have told MailOnline this is the only way he could travel to Rome for treatment.

Can the hospital stop his parents taking him out of the country without permission?

Yes. If doctors believe that any parent will cause suffering to their child, police can be called in to arrest them using Powers of Protection legislation.

In the case of young cancer sufferer Ashya King his parents faced a European Arrest Warrant after absconding with their son who was in hospital.

Alfie has been on a ventilator so would require a team of medical staff to move him and his equipment. 

If parents still refuse to accept treatment should be withdrawn, can the hospital end it anyway?

Yes. Police could be called in to facilitate treatment being ended if parents were violently preventing it – although it is highly unlikely this would happen. Doctors are more likely to try to ‘persuade’ parents to let it happen.

If the parties remain at loggerheads for a long period the hospital could go back to court for an injunction and ask a judge to set a deadline for treatment to be withdrawn. 

‘He ain’t showing no sign of suffering or that he needs support or anything. The nurses have been coming in to review him and they’re happy.

‘He looks comfortable. He looks chilled. And that’s the most important thing right now.’  

Supporters keeping vigil outside the hospital last night were told Mr Evans had ‘fallen asleep next to his little boy’ and would not be speaking again until Thursday morning.

The Bambino Gesu paediatric hospital in Rome, which is administered by the Vatican, has said a specially-equipped plane is on standby to fly to Britain to pick up Evans if he is released. 

Tom Evans met the pope in the Vatican last Wednesday after several statements of support made by the pontiff. 

It emerged at yesterday’s Court of Appeal hearing that the toddler’s father wants three Alder Hey Children’s Hospital doctors prosecuted for conspiracy to murder. The medics who cannot be named, have each been served with a summons, the court heard. 

Alfie’s parents, Tom Evans and Kate James, who are now represented by different legal teams, were defeated again in their bid to have Alfie transferred to hospital in Rome, where the Italian government has granted him citizenship. 

At a hastily arranged appeal hearing in London yesterday afternoon, Paul Diamond of the Christian Legal Centre – who is representing Mr Evans – asked judges Lord Justice McFarlane, Lord Justice Coulson and Lady Justice King to let Alfie be flown to Rome for treatment. 

The barrister said that there had been a ‘significant change of circumstances’ as Alfie was still breathing despite being taken off a ventilator at 9.40pm on Monday. Jason Coppel QC, representing Miss James, also claimed that as a European citizen Alfie ought to be allowed to fly to Italy. 

But the judges rejected both lawyers’ claims, agreeing with the hospital that nothing had changed since a High Court judge first ruled in February that it was not in Alfie’s best interests to leave Alder Hey.

They said the fact that the child was breathing unaided did not mean he was improving because doctors had never suggested death would be instantaneous, and that in reality he was dying.  

Alfie’s father said yesterday there is no longer a dialogue between them and the doctors, who they say have not tested or observed their son since his life-support machines were withdrawn at 9pm on Monday. 

Mr Evans’s barrister, Paul Diamond, said an air ambulance was on standby at the ‘request of the Pope’. Its German pilots were thrown out of Alder Hey yesterday afternoon.    

Mr Diamond argued that there had been a ‘significant change of circumstances’ because the life-support treatment had stopped, but Alfie was still breathing. The hospital’s lawyers submitted that Alfie’s death had never been expected to be ‘instantaneous’. 

The lawyer, who is counsel for the pro-life group the Christian Legal Centre, also said there were ‘tensions’, but insisted that there was no ‘hostility’ against the NHS.

But, in an astonishingly frank exchange, Lord Justice McFarlane responded by telling him: ‘Your client purported to take out a private prosecution to have three named doctors charged with the criminal offence of conspiracy to murder.

‘Those summonses were served on the doctors and I hear you say that there is no hostility to the NHS.’ 

Mr Diamond replied: ‘There is no hostility but within that process there are tensions.’

Supporters outside the hospital last night where staff say they have been feeling intimidated

Supporters tie balloons outside Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool, yesterday evening

A supporter of Alfie Evans’s parents is pictured crying after hearing the appeal had been rejected last night with supporters outside Alder Hey Children’s Hospital

Merseyside Police say they are monitoring social media posts 

Police in Liverpool have said they are monitoring social media posts relating to Alfie Evans in a bid to stop ‘malicious’ messages. 

They warned that any threatening posts could prompt police action as tensions remain high outside the hospital and amid the ongoing legal battle.

Chief Inspector Chris Gibson said: ‘Merseyside Police has been made aware of a number of social media posts which have been made with reference to Alder Hey Hospital and the ongoing situation involving Alfie Evans.

‘I would like to make people aware that these posts are being monitored and remind social media users that any offences including malicious communications and threatening behaviour will be investigated and where necessary will be acted upon.’ 

Jason Coppel QC said Alfie’s mother Kate James had told him: ‘Alfie is struggling and needs immediate intervention.’

The judges heard that Ms James is now represented by Jason Coppel QC rather than Mr Diamond who continues to represent Alfie’s father.

Mr Diamond said Alfie could be ‘kept prisoner’ in hospital ‘when there is alternative, fantastic care available for him, telling the judges: ‘We submit there is a likelihood of Alfie having some pleasure in life. That is beyond our knowledge.’

Lady Justice King said: ‘That is not the evidence. The evidence is that he is unlikely to have pain, but that tragically everything that would allow him to have some appreciation of life, or even the mere touch of his mother, has been destroyed irrevocably.’ 

Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Legal Centre whose lawyers lodged the appeal, said after the ruling: ‘Now we all need to reflect’.

‘Alfie is obviously now very vulnerable and so everyone is very emotional,’ she said, praising his parents’ strength. They’ve left no stone unturned for their child.

‘They have great tenacity and believe passionately in life, and in giving Alfie the chance of life with appropriate care for as long as possible.’

Tom Evans told reporters outside the hospital on Tuesday his son ‘could be in Italy right now’.

‘I’m not giving up because Alfie’s breathing away, he’s not suffering,’ he added. 

Police remained outside the hospital after protests and attempts to storm the building earlier in the week. Some reports said there had been a ‘lockdown’ at the hospital but footage from a reporter on the scene suggested it was relatively empty.  

Alder Hey’s doctors, nurses and staff say they have faced vitriol from some of the toddler’s supporters, making it ‘impossible’ for the little boy to go home, the High Court heard yesterday. 

The family of terminally ill toddler Alfie Evans have released pictures of the little boy clinging to life in his mother Kate’s arms

German air ambulance staff ‘sent by the Pope’ to Liverpool are escorted from Alfie’s hospital

Two people believed to be German air ambulance staff have been escorted from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital

Two people believed to be German air ambulance staff have been escorted from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital as the family of Alfie Evans appeal against a court decision preventing him from being taken abroad.

The terminally ill 23-month-old had his life support withdrawn on Monday night but his father Tom has said he is still ‘fighting’.

On Wednesday afternoon a man and woman believed to be from a German air ambulance crew were escorted from the Liverpool hospital by police and security staff after being seen speaking to members of the Evans family.

A judge has ruled that Alfie will not be allowed to be taken abroad for treatment, but Mr Evans and Alfie’s mother Kate James are challenging the decision in the Court of Appeal.

Calls were made on the Alfie’s Army Facebook page earlier on Wednesday for ventilation equipment to be brought to the hospital.

Supporters were later seen running into the hospital with what appeared to be medical equipment.

Police remained in and around the building throughout the day and 20 to 30 supporters of the family were outside, with some parked in cars across the road.

A hospital spokesman said patients may notice enhanced security but should attend appointments as normal.

Alfie Evans: Timeline of court cases brought by parents against Alder Hey Children’s Hospital

May 2016: Alfie Evans is born apparently perfectly healthy, but misses numerous developmental milestones in his first seven months

December 2016: Alfie catches a chest infection causing seizures, and is taken to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool where he is put on life support. He has been there ever since 

February 1 2018: The case goes to the High Court, where the hospital reveal the parents smuggled a German doctor into hospital in a bid to stop the life support from being switched off 

February 20: Mr Justice Hayden rules that doctors can stop providing treatment to Alfie. 

March 6: Three Court of Appeal judges back High Court judge’s ruling that that doctors can stop treating Alfie.

March 20: A panel of three justices, headed by Supreme Court president Lady Hale, decide that the case is not worth arguing and has refuse to give the couple ‘permission’ to mount a further appeal.

April 11: High Court judge endorses an end-of-life care plan for the 23-month-old boy.

April 16: Parents mount new legal challenge, asking that he be allowed to travel, but again lose at the Court of Appeal. Alfie’s parents apologise after reports of intimidation and verbal abuse among hospital protesters. 

April 20: Supreme Court rejects latest legal bid for the youngster to travel.

April 23: European Court of Human Rights refuses to intervene. The Italian Foreign Ministry grants Alfie citizenship amid protests outside the Liverpool hospital. 

April 24: Special session of High Court in Manchester rejects application to overturn decision

April 25:  Appeal judges asked to overturn April 24 decision. The parents’ appeal is denied

April 26: Alfie’s parents confirm their legal battle is over and they want to take him home 

In an open letter, chairman of Alder Hey hospital Sir David Henshaw and chief executive Louise Shepherd said staff had been ‘deeply affected’ by the story of Alfie Evans and felt ‘deeply’ for him and his whole family.

But they defended staff from what they said had been a ‘barrage’ of abuse.

The letter said: ‘Yet in the last two weeks we have found ourselves at the centre of a social media storm that has included many untrue statements about our work and the motivations of our staff.

‘This has led to often inappropriate interventions from a range of external bodies and individuals, some of which have caused significant disruption to our children, families and staff. 

‘Our nursing, medical and support staff come into work each day at Alder Hey determined to do the best for our patients and those who care for them.

‘Justice Hayden has also commented upon the ‘diligent professionalism of some truly remarkable doctors and the warm and compassionate energy of the nurses whose concern and compassion is almost tangible’.

‘Unfortunately, these same remarkable staff have recently been the target of unprecedented personal abuse that has been hard to bear.’ 

Lord Justice McFarlane said there was evidence that Tom Evans and Kate James had made decisions based on incorrect advice.

The judge, who headed a panel of appeal judges considering Alfie’s case, said similar issues had arisen in other recent cases.

He said there was a ‘darker side’ to some offers of support and suggested that some form of investigation should be staged.  

Christian Legal Centre, the pro-life organisation behind Alfie’s legal team, said an air ambulance was ‘on hand’ if needed.

The Italian government has also offered him a private jet while the Pope, who met Mr Evans last week, said he hoped that the parents’ ‘desire to seek new forms of treatment may be granted’.  

A Polish flag flies outside Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, in support of Alfie Evans. The Polish President weighed in yesterday in support of Alfie’s parents

Tom Evans, Alfie’s father, pictured speaking to supporters outside the Liverpool hospital last night, but the family will return to court again later

Medics have given the boy some oxygen and water but Mr Evans said his son will need further urgent medical assistance if he is to survive the day

Mr Evans pleaded in a Facebook post yesterday: ‘Please save our son, your Lordships’

The removal of life support comes after the family lost a ‘last-ditch’ appeal to delay the withdrawal of treatment and mount a further legal challenge

Alfie Evans is in a ‘semi-vegetative state’ and has a degenerative neurological condition

Tom Evans pictured with the Pope, who has thrown renewed support behind the family

Doctors in Liverpool, who believe it is in Alfie’s best interests to have life support switched off, say he cannot survive and that a trip to Rome would be wrong and pointless. 

Time for Alfie’s Law, says his MEP  

An MEP is launching a campaign for ‘Alfie’s Law’ to give parents of terminally-ill children more say in end-of-life hospital care for their sons and daughters.

Steven Woolfe, Member of the European Parliament for North West England, is backing the bid following his support for the family of Alfie Evans.

The 23-month-old, who has a degenerative brain disease, has had life support withdrawn at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.

His parents, Tom Evans and Kate James, have opposed withdrawing life support and want to take him abroad for treatment. 

Successive judges have agreed that Alfie has been given ‘world-class’ healthcare by Alder Hey but his brain is so damaged that further treatment is ‘futile’ and it is in his best interests to withdraw life support, against his parent’s wishes.

Mr Woolfe’s campaign is being backed by right-leaning think-tank Parliament Street and launched on Thursday outside the Houses of Parliament.

He said: ‘The cases of Charlie Gard, Aysha King, and now Alfie Evans, show a dangerous trend of public bodies depriving parents and families of the right to make decisions they believe are in the best interests of their children.

‘Parents’ rights should neither be ignored nor dismissed as irrelevant by hospitals and courts, who believe they know best and have the power, money and resources to overwhelm families who simply want to save their child.

‘We demand a change in the law to restore the rights of parents in such decisions.

At a special High Court hearing in Manchester on Tuesday, Mr Justice Hayden refused to let him fly to Rome, saying the long-running case had reached its ‘final chapter’.

One of the hospital doctors said the soonest they could move him home would be three to five days, but that ‘hostility’ to doctors would make that impossible and that there was ‘genuine fear’ among medics. 

Mr Evans claimed that he and Alfie’s mother ‘had to give him mouth to mouth resuscitation to keep him alive because his lips turned blue’.

A doctor giving evidence, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said: ‘If I was being honest I think in Alfie’s situation [a return home] would have to be staged. I do not feel confident that we can say right now we can just send him home.

‘We have to be sure we can work with the family and we are not going job obstructed by the supporters who are threatening us and posting things on Facebook.’ 

At the start of the hearing, Mr Diamond said:  ‘It’s really an application for common humanity and common sense.’

But the judge interjected and told the lawyer to ‘confine himself to the law’ and avoid ’emotive nonsense’, later adding: ‘I don’t need to be reminded we have a human being. You do not have the moral high ground in this court. It is treacherous terrain.’

Discussing Alfie’s care, the judge said: ‘The options of palliative care are to be discussed with Alfie Evans’ parents with the objective of promoting a removal from hospital if possible.

‘All this is to be predicated on the premise that the plan is to promote the best options for end of life care.  

‘There is no change in the degenerative state of his brain. There is capacity for something of his brain stem to generate breathing.’ 

Parents of Alfie Evans took different lawyers to their latest appeal 

The parents of Alfie Evans were represented by different barristers for the first time during yesterday’s Court of Appeal hearing, it has emerged.

Paul Diamond, who had been representing both Tom Evans and Kate James in the ongoing battle over Alfie’s treatment, spoke only on his father’s behalf. 

Judges heard that Jason Koppel QC was now representing Ms James, having spoken to her on the phone and reportedly not had time to read yesterday’s High Court ruling. 

Mr Diamond, who works for the Christian Legal Centre, had been rebuked by Mr Justice Hayden at yesterday’s hearing for attempting to take the ‘moral high ground’ in the case. 

A Sky News reporter at yesterday’s hearing said judges had ‘expressed concerns’ after it emerged the two parents had different counsel.

Mr Coppel previously represented the Government in its legal battle over Parliament’s role in triggering Article 50 to leave the EU.

He had only come to the case at the last moment and had not had time to read Mr Justice Hayden’s judgment at the High Court, the Mirror reports.  

At the start of yesterday’s hearing, Mr Diamond said: ‘It’s really an application for common humanity and common sense.’

But the judge interjected and told the lawyer to ‘confine himself to the law’ and avoid ’emotive nonsense’, later adding: ‘I don’t need to be reminded we have a human being. You do not have the moral high ground in this court. It is treacherous terrain.’

Mr Diamond is Standing Counsel for the Christian Legal Centre, and is described on their website as a ‘Defender of the Faith. ‘      

Hundreds of supporters of Alfie Evans protest outside British Embassy in Poland in vigil after the country’s President joined calls for the boy’s treatment to continue 

Hundreds of supporters of Alfie Evans have taken part in a protest and vigil outside the British Consulate in Krakow, Poland.

It comes after the 23-month-old’s parents lost their latest appeal to have their terminally ill son transferred to Italy for treatment yesterday. 

Crowds gathered to light candles and place teddy bears outside the British Embassy in the centre of the city overnight, with many saying prayers for the sick toddler.

Hundreds of supporters of Alfie Evans have taken part in a protest and vigil outside the British Consulate in Krakow, Poland (Pictured: People lay flowers and toys outside the embassy)

A Polish newspaper report said the ‘protest and solidarity campaign’ was organized by the All-Polish Youth, a controversial organisation with a Catholic and nationalist ideology.

Some of those taking part scrawled messages on the side of the building in both Polish and Englisgh. One reads: ‘God save Alfie Evans’ and others say ‘Stick to Alfie, we pray for you’ and ‘Great Britain, you will never be great again’.

One woman, Aneta Polit, told the paper: ‘I am deeply upset that a small, innocent child was condemned to a terrible death by a British judge.

‘I am surprised by the doctors, who are called to save lives, that they agreed to something like that. As a history teacher, I was immediately thought of the Auschwitz Birkenau camp, where people were condemned to death from hunger and thirst only because they were sick or the occupier considered them ‘unnecessary’.

Some of those taking part scrawled messages on the side of the building in both Polish and Englisgh. One reads: ‘God save Alfie Evans’ and others say ‘Stick to Alfie, we pray for you’ and ‘Great Britain, you will never be great again’

A Polish newspaper report said the ‘protest and solidarity campaign’ was organized by the All-Polish Youth, a controversial organisation with a Catholic and nationalist ideology

‘I feel very sorry for the parents of this child. What torture they must be experiencing.’ 

Last night’s demonstration comes after Polish president, Andrzej Duda, tweeted earlier that the seriously ill toddler ‘must be saved’.

Duda is a devout Catholic – and the church is very important to him. A 2005 survey in Poland suggested as many as 88 per cent of Polish people identify as Catholic.

And yesterday members of Liverpool’s Polish community gathered outside Alder Hey Hospital and waved their country’s flags as they protested alongside right-to-life campaigners.

Alder Hey Children’s Hospital have repeatedly argued in court that further treatment is not in Alfie’s best interests and several high court judges have ruled in their favour and stated they are acting in the youngster’s best interests.


How do medics reach decisions in cases such as Alfie Evans? 

Why would the decision to withdraw treatment from a child be made?

Professor Russell Viner, of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said: ‘Every action and decision is taken in the best interests of the child, and decisions on care, including the withdrawal of treatment, are always made with the involvement of parents.

‘We can’t comment on the specifics of the case, only the medical team treating Alfie, and the legal team, will know the exact details and they are bound by patient confidentiality.

‘However, we feel it is important for the public to know that decisions to withhold or withdraw treatment from a child are not made lightly.’

In what circumstances does it happen?

According to the UK’s framework, treatment is withdrawn if it is unable or unlikely to result in the child living much longer, where it may prolong life but will cause the child unacceptable pain and suffering, or if an older child with a life-limiting illness repeatedly makes it clear they do not want treatment and this decision is supported by parents and doctors.

How often are decisions like this made?

Prof Viner said decisions on withdrawing treatment from children are made ‘frequently’.

He said: ‘In the vast majority of cases an equal decision is made to withdraw treatment and it is rare that there is disagreement.

‘The cases where this is a significant difference in view are the ones that grab the media headlines.’

Why is Alfie continuing to breathe after life support treatment has been removed?

Professor Dominic Wilkinson, consulant neonatologist at the John Radcliffe Hospital and director of medical ethics at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics at the University of Oxford, said: ‘In the last few hours, news reports have indicated that life support has been withdrawn from Alfie, and that he is breathing by himself.

‘That does not mean that doctors were wrong, and it does not mean that breathing support should be restarted.

‘The reason for stopping the breathing machines is simply that his serious condition is not treatable, and will not improve.’

He added: ‘Given the nature of Alfie’s condition, the doctors have wanted to provide him with palliative care, focused on his comfort, and focused on making his remaining time as good as possible.’

Is it euthanasia?

Prof Wilkinson said: ‘Providing palliative care is not euthanasia.

‘It is about providing ‘intensive caring’ rather than intensive medical care.

‘It does not end the child’s life.

‘Rather, it supports the child, and the child’s family, for as long or as short as they remain with us.’ 

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