10 Things Christians Should Know about the Alfie Evans Case

  • Veronica Neffinger Editor, ChristianHeadlines.com
10 Things Christians Should Know about the Alfie Evans Case
The case of Alfie Evans, the 23-month-old boy who has a rare neurodegenerative disorder, has garnered international interest. In a case involving implications both for the pro-life movement and for parental rights, Alfie's parents have been fighting for their son's life. People around the world have been rallying in support of Alfie and his parents. Here is what you need to know about this heartbreaking case so that you can stay informed, and most especially, so that you can pray for this little boy and his parents.

Photo courtesy: Facebook/Save Alfie Evans

1. Who is Alfie Evans?

Alfie Evans is a 23-month-old boy who has a degenerative neurological condition which doctors have not been able to precisely diagnose. At several months old, Alfie's parents brought him to see a doctor because he seemed to be developing late and started making "jerking, seizure-like movements." The Sun reports that he then caught a chest infection which increased the seizures. Doctors then put him on life support, where he has been ever since at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool. Doctors say he is not in a "semi-vegetative" state.

Photo courtesy: Facebook/Save Alfie Evans 

2. How did the case begin?

Alfie was being treated at Alder Hey hospital in the UK, but his doctors at the hospital believed that Alfie had no chance of recovering and to continue to treat him would only be to prolong his suffering. They recommended withdrawing life support and allowing Alfie to die. Alfie's parents, Tom Evans and Kate James, strongly disagreed and began fighting for the right to determine their own son's future. The conflict developed into a legal case, with Evans, James, and their legal team fighting against Alder Hey hospital.

Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstockphotos.com

3. What happened in the courts?

Alfie's parents have been undeterred in their fight for the right to determine their son's future. They lost their initial case when the court agreed with Alder Hey that it would be "inhumane" to prolong Alfie's life. They appealed their case, but lost again. The judge ruled that Alfie "could not be saved" and that it would even be "unkind" and "futile" to continue treatment. Evans and James and their legal team then took their case to the UK High Court in a last desperate effort, but just this week, this court also ruled that Alfie's life should not be prolonged.

Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstockphotos.com

4. What happened after the courts ruled against Alfie?

Earlier this week, based on the court's ruling, Alfie's was taken off of life support. He has proved himself a fighter and did not die as many assumed, however. Three days after being taken off of life support, Alfie continues to be alive, though still unresponsive. Tom Evans told reporters, "He's been off a ventilator for three days now, there's been no deterioration," according to the Mirror. Evans has been sitting and sleeping beside his son "every second of every day." 

Evans and James, along with those who support them, also spoke out about how long it took doctors at Alder Hey to give Alfie food, water, and oxygen after he was taken off of his ventilator.  

“They only started feeding him at one ‘o’clock yesterday," said Evans. "It’s disgusting how he’s being treated,” Evans said. “Not even an animal would be treated like this. He’s proving them wrong."

Photo courtesy: Instagram/Alfie's Army

8. Why did British police warn people to stay away from the hospital?

Following the ruling against Alfie Evans, tensions were running high. Merseyside Police feared that Alfie's supporters and protesters would try to storm into Alder Hey hospital where Alfie was being kept. The police issued a statement saying, "We've issued the following statement following reports of social media posts being made in relation to Alder Hey Hospital and the ongoing situation with Alfie Evans:

Chief Inspector Chris Gibson said: 'Merseyside Police has been made aware of a number of social media posts which have been made with reference to Alder Hey Hospital and the ongoing situation involving Alfie Evans.

'I would like to make people aware that these posts are being monitored and remind social media users that any offences including malicious communications and threatening behaviour will be investigated and where necessary will be acted upon.'"

Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstockphotos.com


9. Why do the UK courts seem so set on maintaining custody of Alfie?

Although the court's claim that keeping Alfie alive is "unkind" and even "inhumane," Allahpundit at Hotair.com makes a significant point:

"With Italian doctors willing to treat Alfie and a plane standing by to take him to Italy, with his parents desperate to take them up on that invitation, the only conceivable reason the UK would refuse to let him go is because they’re terrified that he really might be successfully treated. If they’re wrong on a question of life and death that’s now being scrutinized internationally, no one would ever trust an NHS end-of-life assessment again. Letting him go would require the British health-care and judicial systems to do the one thing bureaucracies bristle at doing, knowing how it undermines their institutional authority: They’d have to admit they were wrong. They can’t do it. To preserve the public’s trust, the child must starve."

Photo courtesy: Facebook/Save Alfie Evans

5. What did the Pope say about Alfie's case?

Pope Francis has been one of Alfie's most vocal supporters. The Pope pledged his support to Alfie and his family and even extended an offer for Alfie and his family to come to Italy where Alfie could be treated in a Vatican hospital. Doctors there even were interested in using experimental treatments that could possibly lead to improvement in Alfie's health. 

“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," the Pope tweeted.

Tom Evans even flew to Rome to meet the Pope in person and request his help.

Photo courtesy: Flickr.com

6. So why wasn't Alfie allowed to go to Italy?

Although Italy and other countries offered to treat Alfie, the British courts ultimately ruled that Alfie is a British citizen and under their jurisdiction. 

“I am not going to provide more time,” said High Court Justice Anthony Hayden. “Alfie is a British citizen, he is undoubtedly habitually resident in the UK. He falls therefore under the jurisdiction of the High Court.”

Tom Evans expressed his frustration at this ruling: "The court of appeal have reached out to us and said they are going to set back three judges to hear the case. In reality, he could be in Italy right now. We all know the military air force are ready to take him and a team of doctors are there,” he said. “We’ve also got a German air ambulance team, who attempted to take him in the first place, ready.”

Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstockphotos.com

7. What other country is supporting Alfie?

While Alfie and his parents have received support from people around the world, Italy and also Poland have been particularly vocal in their support. Polish president Andrzej Duda tweeted, "Alfie Evans must be saved! His brave little body has proved again that the miracle of life can be stronger than death. Perhaps all that's needed is some good will on the part of decision makers. Alfie, we pray for you and your recovery!"

Polish citizens even erected a shrine for Alfie outside the British Consulate in Krakow, and today, Americans are gathering outside the British Embassy in Washington DC to support Alfie.

Other organizations that have thrown their weight behind Alfie and his parents include the Christian Legal Center, part of Christian Concern, and the Christian Defence Coalition.  

Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/PeterHermesFurian

10. How can you keep up with Alfie's fight?

If you want to follow Alfie's story and get regular updates on legal and health developments, there are several social media pages you can follow. The Facebook page Save Alfie Evans notifies followers of protests and events in support of Alfie. The page has almost 130,000 followers. Another page, called Alfie's Army, has accounts on both Facebook and Instagram and even includes a link to a Change.com petition you can sign in support of Alfie.

"Help us save his life and protect parents' rights to care for their children! Join thousands who signed our petition and donate towards Alfie's medical care," says the page. 

Photo courtesy: Facebook/Save Alfie Evans

Publication date: April 26, 2018

10 Things Christians Should Know about the Alfie Evans Case