British toddler Alfie Evans, 23-months-old, died at 2:30 British time, earlier this morning. He had been hospitalized much of his short life with a degenerative brain condition. Born in May 2016, he entered the hospital in December 2016. I pray for the comfort of his parents and loved ones. May Alfie travel very well.
The terminally ill youngster had become the face of an international effort to save his life and to keep him on life-support at a Liverpool, United Kingdom, hospital. He died today after being taken off life-support on Monday - meaning that the toddler endured in a prolonged vegetative state for five-days before succumbing to a fate of death.
But what makes the death of this toddler troublesome and heart wrenching is the legal wrangling his parents and supporters contested with the hospital to keep the boy on life-support and the rulings from British courts against them, including an overreach by judges to prevent the boy from leaving the UK to seek desperate treatment elsewhere.
Doctors determined there was no hope for little Alfie. They sought to remove him from life-support to which his parents objected and petitioned the British courts for relief. The courts ruled against the parents. The parents appealed and lost. The parents, after the father sought counsel with Pope Francis in Rome, again petitioned the courts for relief to remove their child from the UK to Italy for treatment. The courts denied the desperate bid citing the patient's irreversible condition and a claim moving him might cause harm, based upon medical testimony.
The court, in my unchangeable opinion, overreached its authority in denying the right of Alfie's parents to seek medical attention overseas even though the treatment might not have saved the toddler's life. But who knows? There's only one God and as far as my education goes, and the last time I checked, God didn't wear a robe or scrubs.
Taken off life-support on Monday, Alfie died today, Saturday. Pope Francis Tweeted a couple-hours ago: "I am deeply moved by the death of little Alfie. Today I pray especially for his parents, as God the Father receives him in his tender embrace."
Explicitly, medical science in Alfie's case suggests Alfie would have died in spite of any medical treatment. Yet, while the British court might have rendered just judgment in ruling with the hospital that he'll be taken off life-support, I argue and hereby submit that the British court overreached its authority in denying the parents of Alfie their right to remove the boy from the UK.
Parental choices in all efforts to saving and safeguarding children, even if fruitless, must never be surrendered to or taken away by any court. Parents must be given all opportunities to utilizing all means necessary to saving a child's life.
I hate to consider the likelihood, but had Alfie parents been of the nobility or the gentry, would the British courts have ruled in the same manner per travel out of the UK to seek desperate treatment?