LEICESTER, United Kingdom – The parents of Alfie Evans, the 23-month-old boy in England with a rare brain disorder who is facing having his life support removed, will on Monday ask England’s Court of Appeal to allow them to take their son to the Vatican-owned Bambino Gesù children’s hospital in Rome for treatment.
On Wednesday, the High Court set the date for the removal of life support for the child, who has an undiagnosed brain disorder, which his doctors say has no medical cure.
However, Alfie will continue to receive care until the appeal court hears the petition on Monday.
Tom Evans and Kate James, the boy’s parents, attempted to have him discharged from the hospital on Thursday night, “by formally withdrawing their duty of care.”
They were prevented from doing so, and Evans was informed he could face arrest if he tried again.
“Alder Hey hospital called in police to stop Alfie’s transfer, locking all doors, setting off a fire alarm and removing all children from the PICU. This merely proves first that Alder Hey is acting in violation of parental rights, second that Alfie is indeed a prisoner if the police are being used and exit prevented, and third their tactics are simply hysterical,” an authorized press release from Evans and James said.
“The family wishes to immediately move Alfie by air ambulance to the Bambino Gesù hospital in Rome, which has offered free care for the rest of Alfie’s life, including the comfort and health-enhancing standard tracheostomy and PEG feeding tube which Alder Hey refuses to give,” said the statement, which was posted on Facebook on Friday.
On April 4, Pope Francis tweeted: “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.”
Liverpool’s Alder Hay hospital claims there is nothing that can be done to treat Alfie and moving him would cause undue trauma for the child.
Nearly 1,000 people came to the hospital on Thursday in a show of support for Alfie, and further crowds made an appearance on Friday.
The hospital has asked that no one protest over the weekend, and sent Evans a letter on Friday saying, “behavior such as this is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.”
The letter also said the parents would no longer be allowed to sleep in the hospital.
“I’m going to continue to fight, and I know where the line is, and me and Kate haven’t crossed it and until we see that line and until we feel like we’re going to cross it, we won’t cross it,” Evans told journalists.
“We want to be respected. What we’re doing is on Alfie’s say so. We don’t want any criticism for what we’re doing, we’re doing 100 percent right by our son.”
Correction: A previous version of this article stated Alfie was diagnosed with encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. His condition has not been diagnosed. We apologize for the error.