Alfie Evans’ parents ‘heartbroken’ as brain-damaged toddler dies after five days without life support following agonising legal battle
- The terminally ill 23-month-old had a degenerative neurological condition
- Mother Kate James announced his passing on Facebook saying he died at 2.30
- He was in a coma for more than a year and recently had life-support withdrawn
Terminally ill toddler Alfie Evans has died after a long-running battle over his treatment for a degenerative neurological condition.
The 23-month-old – who was being treated at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital – died at 2.30am, Kate James and Thomas Evans said on Facebook.
It comes five days after medics at the Liverpool hospital withdrew his life-support.
The youngster was at the centre of a legal battle over his treatment that touched hearts around the world.
Heartbroken: Alfie’s mother Kate James took to Facebook to announce the news that her son had passed away early this morning
Terminally ill toddler Alfie Evans has died after a long-running battle over his treatment for a degenerative neurological condition
Tom Evans and Kate James, who have been at the centre of a life-support treatment battle for their son Alfie Evans, are pictured last year
Tom Evans met the Pope last week in a bid to have his son Alfie transferred to a hospital in Rome which is administered by the Vatican
The post on said: ‘Our baby boy grew his wings tonight at 2:30 am. We are heart broken. Thankyou everyone for all your support.’
Alfie had been in a coma for over a year and needed a ventilator to keep him breathing but his parents have fought to stop his life support being switched off.
Mr Evans had met the Pope last week to ask for asylum, kissing the pontiff’s hand and begging him to ‘save our son’.
The head of the Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital, which is administered by the Vatican, also travelled to Liverpool in a bid to have the boy transferred, saying Pope Francis asked her to do everything ‘possible and impossible’ to save him.
Their case went before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) after it was rejected by the UK’s Supreme Court, but judges in Strasbourg also refused to intervene, saying the application was ‘inadmissible’.
Following the decision, around 200 people gathered outside Liverpool’s Alder Hey hospital, as supporters blocked the road outside the hospital, linking arms and chanting, ‘Save Alfie Evans!’
The youngster passed away at 2.30am this morning, five days after doctors removed his life support
Police had to step in to stop protesters trying to enter Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool where Alfie Evans is being treated for a degenerative neurological condition
Dozens had ran towards the main doors before police officers stationed inside and out strung across the entrance blocking the way, and after after a short stand off the crowd retreated to gather around 100 yards away on the road outside.
The case had echoes of that of Charlie Gard, who was born in August 2016 with a rare form of mitochondrial disease that causes progressive muscle weakness, including in his organs.
The British boy died on July 29 last year, one week short of his first birthday, after doctors withdrew life support treatment.
Gard’s parents fought a five-month legal battle for him to be taken to the United States for experimental treatment, but lost a series of appeals in British courts and the ECHR despite support from President Donald Trump.
Alfie was put on life support at the Liverpool hospital in December 2016, after catching a chest infection causing seizures, and has remained there ever since.
Last year Mr Evans said he was seeking treatment for his son in the US, claiming in December that his son was letting them know he wanted to live.
A consultant told the High Court in February that Alfie was unresponsive, not conscious of his surroundings and could not be cured.
A judge ruled that doctors could stop providing treatment to Alfie, and the Court of Appeal and UK Supreme Court upheld the lower court’s decision.
Some of the protesters attempted to get into the hospital as police guarded the entrance
Some of the group surge towards are door after protesters tried to block a road to the hospital
Alfie’s father Tom said today he believes his son is going to die and threatened private prosecutions against medics from the hospital
A large crowd of around 200 demonstrators gathered outside the hospital today
Police guarded the hospital’s entrance after a group of protesters surged towards the door
Merseyside Police said they recognised the ‘sensitivities’ involved in the case
A large crowd gathered outside the hospital after Mr Evans spoke of his fears his son would die
It came after a British judge said flying Alfie to a foreign hospital would be wrong and pointless, in a decision since backed by Britain’s Appeal Court and the Supreme Court.
An ECHR spokesman said: ‘The European Court of Human Rights has today rejected the application submitted by the family of Alfie Evans as inadmissible.’
The couple have argued that Alfie is being wrongly ‘detained’ at Alder Hey and have made a habeas corpus application.
A writ of habeas corpus – Latin for ‘you may have the body’ – is a legal manoeuvre, based on common law dating back to Anglo-Saxon times, which requires a court to examine the legality of a detention.
A spokesman for Alder Hey said: ‘Alder Hey Children’s Hospital remains open as usual for all visitors and appointments, however visitors may notice an increase in visible police presence in and around the hospital site – this is part of our ongoing security arrangements.’
Around 200 people gathered outside the hospital after Mr Evans said his son would die today
Protestors want the hospital to keep Alfie alive and allow his parents to decide his care
Protesters who call themselves ‘Alfie’s Army’ held placards outside the hospital today
A protester ties a balloon to a road sign on which demonstrators have tied messages
There were tears among those who gathered outside the hospital in Liverpool this afternoon
Chief Inspector Chris Gibson of Merseyside Police said: ‘We continue to provide a policing presence at Alder Hey and recognise the sensitivities involved in this very difficult and sad situation.
‘We would like to remind the public that this is a hospital for sick children and it should not be forgotten that many families are going through extremely challenging and emotional times.
‘We would ask protesters to respect families and staff, including the poorly children in the wards and to ensure that access to the hospital is not restricted at any time, so that services including the blood and ambulance service can run as efficiently as possible.’
Motorists were advised to use alternative routes.
Alfie Evans: Timeline of case brought by parents against 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
July 2017: Father Tom Evans says he is seeking US treatment for his son and hopes Charlie Gard’s supporters will help after he claimed doctors want to turn off Alfie’s life support.
December 17: Alfie’s parents say they will begin mediation with the hospital in a bid to find a way forward without legal action
December 19: Mr Evans claims the toddler is letting them know he wants to live
His parents Tom Evans and Kate James are fighting to have him moved to a hospital in Rome. Today they were told the European Court of Human Rights would not intervene in the case
February 1 2018: The case goes to the High Court in Liverpool, 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 2: Consultant tells High Court that the child is unresponsive, not conscious of his surroundings and cannot be cured
February 5: Parents are told by doctors there is ‘no hope for recovery’ for their boy who has suffered ‘catastrophic degradation’ to his brain from a ‘relentless’ condition
February 7: Miss James tells a newspaper that she feels ‘physical’ pain at the thought of her son’s death
February 20: Mr Justice Hayden rules that doctors can stop providing treatment to Alfie.
February 22: Alfie’s father, Tom, 21, said he would appeal against the decision, saying ‘doctors should take a step back.’
March 1: Court of Appeal judges refuse to give the parents more time to think before deciding on their next move.
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: A 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 18: Alfie’s father kisses the hand of the Pope and begs him to ‘save our son’.
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.
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