Tom Evans, 21, and Kate James, 20, the parents of Alfie Evans, are returning to court today to launch another legal bid to allow their 23-month-old son to continue to receive treatment. Alfie has a degenerative brain disease and his case has brought the debate about end of life care back to the forefront of conversation.
His parents, who are from Liverpool, have already lost cases in the high court, court of appeal, supreme court and European court of human rights over their right to continue treatment for their son. The latest challenge came as the hospital where Alfie is being treated for a rare degenerative brain disease said it has had to employ extra security because of protestors staging demonstrations in support of the Evans family.The demonstration, which closed roads around Alder Hey hospital on Thursday night, was to challenge a high court judge who ruled that further treatment would harm Alfie’s future dignity.
Last week, the high court judge, Mr Justice Hayden, endorsed a detailed plan put forward by Alder Hey doctors for withdrawing life-support treatment. He said details of that plan could not be revealed because Alfie was entitled to privacy at the end of his life. However, Alfie’s parents last week said their son had improved in recent weeks and they had asked Hayden to allow a new assessment, but he refused. The judge said the unanimous view of medical experts was that Alfie’s brain had been eroded by disease and further assessment was pointless. They also suggested that Alfie was being unlawfully detained at Alder Hey, but the judge dismissed that suggestion. Appeal court officials said an appeal court judge had decided that Alfie should continue to receive treatment pending the outcome of the hearing that begins today.
Judges have heard that Alfie is in a “semi-vegetative state” and has a degenerative neurological condition that doctors had been unable to diagnose definitively.
The outcome of today’s appeal could signal changes in the way end of life care is distributed,
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