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Supreme Court Rules No Further Treatment For Toddler With Neurodegenerative Disease: What Happened To Alfie Evans?

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The Supreme Court in the UK rules that Alfie Evans, a toddler with undiagnosed brain disease, be withdrawn from life support despite his parents' objection and appeals.

The court agreed to the decision of Alder Hey Children's Hospital that ending the life of the 23-month-old boy is most advisable. Furthermore, the court also refused to grant permission to his parents' plan of bringing the case to the European Court of Human Rights.

The Case

Alfie's parents filed a case against the hospital when it refused to release him after they had decided that they will bring Alfie to a hospital in Rome for further treatment. The hospital intervened in their decision, arguing that it will not be for Alfie's best interest.

Tom Evans, Alfie's father, took to Facebook to air his devastation over the court's ruling in favor of the hospital. In his post, he highlights that Alfie is neither suffering nor he is in pain. The problem is that he remained undiagnosed.

He is heartbroken about the decision, particularly because Milan, Genoa, Rome, and Munich have all wanted to help Alfie. There are also several companies that are offering air ambulance service.

Two days before the Supreme Court's ruling, Tom flew to Rome, asking Pope Francis to intervene in their legal battle. He asked the Pope for asylum for Alfie.

Alfie Evans's Story

Alfie has been ill since having a seizure in December 2016 when he was only 7 months old. He, however, managed to come off his life support machine three times despite his doctors' objection. In fact, he managed a maximum of 13 days off the machine. His medical charts also showed that his pain is almost non-existent.

Despite all these positive signs, Alder Hey Children's Hospital refused to allow him to be transferred to a hospital in Europe. The hospital also initiated an application to the courts to take off his ventilation.

Before his seizure, Alfie had always loved sleeping but got agitated when awake. At some point, it became hard for him to lift his head from the bed. He also had to clench his fist and needed to jerk his arms and legs just to make them move. Eventually, he just rolled his eyes up.

He was first taken to the hospital for confinement when he contracted a chest infection. Subsequently, he had bronchitis, common cold, pneumonia, and finally epileptic seizures every five to 20 minutes. He has since been connected to a life support.

The Court Ruling

In the official copy of the court's ruling, it states that even if Alfie still looks like a normal baby, the doctors unanimously said that scans of his brain revealed that it is no longer the case. Almost all of his brain has been destroyed.

The destruction of his brain continues to happen because of the undiagnosed neurodegenerative disease. He could no longer breathe, eat, and drink without the life support.

"It was not in his best interest for the treatment which sustained his life to be continued or for him to be taken by air ambulance to another country for this purpose," reads the court ruling.

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