Father of seriously ill boy tells court he ‘looks me in the eye’ for help
Alfie Evans is at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool.
The father of a seriously ill 20-month-old boy has told a court his son “needs help” as he fights a decision to end his life support.
Tom Evans, 21, said his son Alfie “looks me in the eye” and wants his help.
Mr Evans and Alfie’s mother, Kate James, 20, want to take the child, who is in a deep coma, to the Vatican-linked Bambino Gesu Paediatric Hospital in Rome for treatment which may prolong his life.
But the boy’s medical team, at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, believes to continue life support is “unkind, unfair and inhumane” and says ventilation that helps him breathe should be withdrawn.
The medics say none of Alfie’s senses are intact, there is no hope for a cure and further treatment is “futile”.
The court case, being heard at the High Court in Liverpool, is in its second week.
Earlier the court heard that Alfie has suffered “catastrophic degradation” to his brain from a “relentless” neurological condition which doctors have not diagnosed and have never seen before.
The disease has destroyed more than 70% of his grey matter.
Alfie’s loved ones maintain he responds to them, but doctors say this is simply the boy suffering involuntary seizures.
Mr Evans, from Liverpool, who is conducting the court case without representation from lawyers, questioned one of the consultants caring for Alfie on Tuesday, saying he was asking from a “Catholic point of view”.
Mr Evans asked the witness: “Do you believe in God?”
She replied: “I don’t think it’s relevant.”
Mr Evans cited the 10 Commandments, adding “we all know what the sixth commandment is” – thou shalt not kill.
Mr Justice Anthony Hayden, hearing the case, interjected: “I’m not going to let her be tested on the catechism.”
The judge continued, asking the witness: “It is obvious that you will inevitably see many children die.
“Have you ever thought that when all the other senses may have shut down, there’s some other sense, intuitive, call it what you will, in the end between baby and parent?”
The medic replied: “The bond between child and parents is absolutely sacred, something that is so powerful.”
The judge asked if she believed, “independent of all logic”, that such a bond could continue in such a seriously ill child.
“I do,” she replied.
Mr Evans asked the doctor why she “did not respect” his and Alfie’s mother’s opinions about their son’s treatment.
The witness replied: “We are Alfie’s doctors, we are not his parents. We do not give up on children easily.
“We put tremendous effort in, even in the most difficult circumstances, to try to get every child through. None of us wants to see a child die.
“But we have to say our efforts are exhausted by the time we have to sit down with families and say, ‘There is nothing more we can do’.”
Mr Evans said: “We see Alfie as a sweet, lovely boy. He’s got a lot of potential and we are not in denial.
“He does have a personality, he does share his emotions. We see potential, we see life.”
The medic said: “If I felt there was hope for Alfie, chance for him to recover, chance for us to get him off the ventilator, I would absolutely not be here. We do not give up on children.”
The hearing was adjourned until Wednesday morning.