Alfie Evans, a terminally ill British toddler whose high-profile legal case drew attention from Pope Francis and people around the world has died, according to his parents on Saturday.
Parents Kate James, 20, and Tom Evans, 21, made the announcement on social media on Saturday.
“My gladiator lay down his shield and gained his wings at 02:30,” Evans wrote on his personal Facebook page. “Absolutely heartbroken. I love you, my guy.”
James also wrote a post in a Facebook group, Alfie’s Army Official, a page dedicated to Alfie’s case. “Our baby boy grew his wings tonight at 2:30 am. We are heartbroken. Thank you, everyone, for all your support.”
Alfie, who was born in May 2016, had a rare degenerative brain condition that medics struggled to identify. He was taken to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in December 2016 after suffering seizures.
Left in a semi-vegetative state and functioning in a range appropriate for a 6-week to a 2-month old infant, doctors felt that future treatment for Alfie would futile and recommended that he be taken off life support and allowed to die.
His parents disagreed with the doctors’ decision and brought the issue to court. However, judges ruled in favor of the hospital, accepting the medical evidence that further treatment would be futile.
Alfie’s parents persisted, going all the way up to the British Court of Appeal to keep Alfie on life support. Alfie’s parents garnered support from people around the world. The Facebook group drew over 800,000 members, and even Pope Francis expressed his support on Twitter.
It is my sincere hope that everything necessary may be done in order to continue compassionately accompanying little Alfie Evans, and that the deep suffering of his parents may be heard. I am praying for Alfie, for his family and for all who are involved.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) April 4, 2018
With the courts siding with the hospital, Alfie’s parents wished to remove Alfie from Alder Hey and seek further treatment at the Vatican-linked Bambino Gesu pediatric hospital in Rome. Alfie was even granted Italian citizenship to travel. However, the day Alfie was granted citizenship, April 23, 2018, was the day Alfie was taken off life support against his parent’s wishes.
According to Evening Standard, Alfie’s parents had to give him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to keep him alive after his life support was turned off. Alfie’s father believed that life support should be reinstated due to his progress.
“He is still working, he’s doing as good as he can,” Evans said to The Telegraph. “Because he’s been doing it for nine hours totally unexpected, the doctors are gobsmacked and I do believe he will need some form of life-support in the next couple of hours and I think he ought to be respected and given that.”
The parents made one last effort to present their case again, but on April 25, the appeal was rejected. Alfie died three days later.
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