It’s the Charlie Gard case all over again. That’s the UK’s NHS system for you.
From Daily Mirror: The parents of Alfie Evans have spoken of their “living nightmare” after a hospital advised switching off their baby son’s life support, it is claimed.
Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool has applied to the High Court to switch off life support for the 18-month-old in a coma, the Liverpool Echo understands.
Alfie’s dad has spoken of their “devastation” and “disappointment” after the hospital reportedly said they had exhausted all options in trying to diagnose and treat the infant’s mystery brain condition.
It comes shortly after Alfie’s parents Thomas Evans and Kate James, both 20, said that after months of searching they had finally found a hospital abroad that was willing to take him.
But a letter to them, seen by the Liverpool Echo, shows Alder Hey are opposing the move to an Italian children’s hospital – and are stepping up the battle over Alfie’s life by taking the matter to court.
The Alder Hey letter says the hospital has asked the High Court to rule that it is legal and in Alfie’s best interest for long-term ventilation and intensive care to be withdrawn.
It says: “The trust’s position is that it does not consider the provision of continued mechanical ventilation nor the move to Italy to be in Alfie’s best interests. The application also asks the court to make a declaration that it is in Alfie’s best interests to be transferred to a hospice setting and to be treated on a palliative pathway with appropriate end of life care.”
Mr. Evans from Bootle, told the Liverpool Echo: “It’s devastating – we feel so disappointed. I feel Alfie is being ignored, let down and not given a chance. “Why should we take him to a hospice when there’s a hospital happy to take him? Alder Hey were watching us work so hard to get this hospital – now we’ve got an offer and a doctor willing to come over, but they’ve refused to speak with him. “Now we are starting to go through a living nightmare. They are making it 10 times worse.”
Tens of thousands of people have formed “Alfie’s Army” over the past year to support and fundraise for the family, including many supporters of Charlie Gard’s parents in their legal fight.
Charlie died aged 11 months following his family’s court battle to send him to the US for treatment.
The reported decision by Alder Hey comes after months of fraught discussions between Alfie’s parents and the hospital over what to do to help their son.
An Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust said: “We understand that this is an incredibly difficult time for the family concerned and we continue to liaise directly with them. We are unable to comment on individual cases. Alder Hey is a specialist children’s hospital which therefore means we treat many children with often complex, life threatening conditions.
Unfortunately despite the best efforts of our clinicians, some of these children are sadly unable to recover from their illness. In such a situation, medical professionals will meet to discuss the most appropriate care plan going forward, focusing on the comfort, wellbeing and best interests of the child concerned.
The Trust will often seek advice from specialist clinicians at other trusts. The care plan is always discussed in full with the family to aim to reach agreement between clinicians and parents about the most appropriate care. We also seek input from the families concerned and this may extend to include review by experts instructed by the family.
Understandably these cases place families under great pressure. We will always seek to reach agreement with parents of the child concerned but there will be some rare situations where agreement cannot be reached and the treating team believe that continued active treatment is not in a child’s best interests. In these cases the Trust will refer a case to the Family Division of the High Court and seek a determination as to the best interests of the child. In all such cases we will also invite the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service to consider the case and provide independent representation of the child.”
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