Parents in legal battle with hospital over child’s life support

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Dec 11, 2017
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Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, Liverpool, has applied to switch off an 18-month-old’s life support

Two parents have embarked on a legal battle to keep their baby son alive after a hospital said it had “exhausted all options” to treat his mystery brain condition.

In a case with echoes of the Charlie Gard court battle earlier this year, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool has applied to switch off the 18-month-old’s life support. Alfie Evans is in a coma in intensive care and suffers regular seizures. His parents claim that after months of searching they have found a hospital abroad that is willing to take their son.

Officials at Alder Hey have told Thomas and Kate Evans, both 20, in a letter seen by the Liverpool Echo that they oppose a move to an Italian children’s hospital as not in the child’s best interests.

Charlie Gard died earlier this year after his parents Chris and Connie fought a legal battle to try to keep him alive, despite advice from experts at Great Ormond Street. The Evanses have similarly launched a campaign to raise £50,000 to take their son abroad.

The hospital has asked the High Court to rule that it is in the infant’s best interest for long-term ventilation and intensive care to be withdrawn. The letter says: “The trust 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.”

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.”

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