Liverpool

Alfie Evans: Parents and doctors to discuss sending toddler home

Alfie Evans Image copyright Kate James
Image caption Alfie Evans was taken off life support on Monday evening

The parents of seriously ill toddler Alfie Evans are to meet doctors to discuss taking him home, his father has said.

The Court of Appeal upheld a ruling on Wednesday preventing the 23-month-old from travelling abroad after life support was withdrawn.

Tom Evans and Kate James wanted their son to be transported to a hospital in Rome for care.

Mr Evans said he will meet doctors and "we now start asking to go home".

Outside Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool, Mr Evans said: "We got rejected yesterday to go to Italy unfortunately. We could take it further but would that be the right thing to do, would there be more criticism?"

He did not rule out further legal action and said the family has "appeals to explore".

"So what we do today is we have a meeting with the doctors at Alder Hey and we now start asking to go home," he said.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Tom Evans and Kate James had hoped Alfie could be taken to the Bambino Gesu Hospital in Rome

He added: "Alfie doesn't need intensive care any more. Alfie is lying on the bed with one litre of oxygen going into his lungs and the rest is him.

"Some people say it's a miracle, it's not a miracle, it's a misdiagnosis."

Mr Justice Hayden said on Monday that Alder Hey would discuss the next steps for Alfie with his parents to "explore" the options of removing him from intensive care either to a ward, a hospice or his home.

The hospital's doctors and independent medical experts agree there is no cure for the boy's rare, undiagnosed degenerative neurological condition.

Roger Kiska, a solicitor at the Christian Legal Centre which is part of the legal team supporting Mr Evans, disagrees and told Radio 4's Today programme the legal battle was not over and "there are other options".

Mr Evans 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."

Steven Woolfe, Member of the European Parliament for North West England, is launching a campaign for "Alfie's Law" to give parents of terminally-ill children more say in end-of-life hospital care.

The campaign claims that, while recognising the dedication of doctors and nurses treating sick children, parents also have "moral rights" about the care of their loved ones.

He said: "The cases of Charlie Gard, Ashya 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."

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Media captionBBC News went to meet the people calling themselves 'Alfie's Army'

The latest attempt to allow Alfie to be transported to the Vatican-linked Bambino Gesu Hospital in Rome was rejected on Wednesday.

Lord Justice McFarlane, who led the appeal court panel, said there was no prospect of the challenge succeeding and Alfie was in "the middle" of a palliative care plan.

Alfie has been cared for at Alder Hey Children's Hospital since December 2016 and has been in a semi-vegetative state for more than a year.

The hospital has seen several protests in recent weeks organised by a campaign group calling itself "Alfie's Army".

On Wednesday, bosses at the hospital defended staff who they said had endured a "barrage" of abuse. Merseyside Police is investigating claims patients and staff were intimidated.

Chairman of the hospital trust Sir David Henshaw said in an open letter that staff had been the subject of "unprecedented personal abuse that has been hard to bear".

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