“My gladiator lay down his shield and gained his wings at 2:30,” announced the little boy’s father on Facebook. Alfie’s death at the hospital, despite the repeated appeals from the pope and the Italian government to transfer him to Rome, brought to a close a week of intense struggle both in the media and in the courts.
When the hospital of Liverpool switched off little 23-month-old British Alfie Evans’ artificial respiration on April 23, 2018, at 2:00 p.m., Rome granted the young patient the Italian nationality on the same day, in a last minute attempt to save the child from programmed death.
The Italian government hoped this concession would make an immediate transfer to the Bambino Gesù Hospital in Rome possible. The hospital offered to take him in at the express request of Pope Francis, who asked them to do “the possible and the impossible” to transfer the child. But all in vain. Mariella Enoc, president of the Bambino Gesù Hospital, traveled to Liverpool to be with Alfie’s parents, but was not received by the hospital authorities: “I feel how powerless I am. The hospital knows that I am here, but they said they cannot see me,” she told the TV channel of the Italian Episcopal Conference.
“We can care for [Alfie]. There will be no therapeutic obstinacy; our doctors have decided they would give the child a PEG (feeding tube) and a tracheotomy for his breathing if necessary. And we could further the diagnosis, since his sickness has not yet been precisely diagnosed,” she declared a few days before her arrival in the United Kingdom.
Condemned by the Judges
On the afternoon of April 23, Tom Evans, Alfie’s father, announced that the Italian Ambassador to Great Britain would be meeting with Judge Anthony Hayden that evening. Nonetheless, after the meeting, the magistrate confirmed the previous legal decision to turn off the artificial respiration.
Around the same time, Pope Francis intervened publicly with a message on Twitter: “Moved by the prayers and immense solidarity shown little Alfie Evans, I renew my appeal that the suffering of his parents may be heard and that their desire to seek new forms of treatment may be granted,” he wrote.
On the evening of April 23, at 10:17 p.m., Alfie’s breathing apparatus was removed. The little boy immediately began showing signs of suffering. Alfie’s father had to spend hours fighting for care to be given to his child: “They left him for six hours without food, water and oxygen,” Tom Evans explained to the Daily Mirror.
On April 24, 2018, late in the afternoon, another appeal from Alfie’s parents was rejected by Judge Hayden, who confirmed that his sentence would be the “final chapter in the case of this extraordinary little boy": Alfie had to die and could not leave for Rome as the Italian government and Pope Francis requested.
That same day, journalists for LifeSite revealed, with proof on hand, that the magistrate belongs to a group of homosexual activists known as BLAGG – Judge Hayden is also the co-author or a book on children and gay parenthood. Given this judge’s militant opposition to Christian morality, the American pro-life information website questioned the impartiality of his judgment.
But another rebound came later that evening: the Evans family lawyer obtained an emergency examination of his appeal in the Court of Appeals for the next day. In the meantime, the Evans family shared on social media on the morning of April 25: “They told us our son would not last five minutes without artificial ventilation; it’s been 36 hours now.” The pessimistic prognosis of the hospital’s doctors was clearly proven wrong.
On the evening of April 25, the Court of Appeals announced that the last appeals were rejected. The direction of the Alder Hey Hospital then released a statement denouncing the pressure being put on its staff.
A Hostage of the Hospital
The next morning, April 26, Tom Evans declared before the cameras of Tv2000 that his son was “a hostage of the hospital,” and thanked Italy for its help in trying to save his child, who was “neither dying nor brain-dead” according to a Polish doctor, who even claimed that the hospital doctors had “misdiagnosed” him.
The same day, Bishop Malcolm McMahon of Liverpool flew to Rome where he was received for an audience with the Holy Father; he defended the hospital’s good faith and professionalism, and even went so far as to criticize the supporters of the Evans family and their arguments. The Catholic Association voiced its disappointment: “It is appalling and disappointing to see the British Catholic hierarchy abandon the social doctrine of the Church.”
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops published a statement on April 25 requesting “alternative care” for the child.
Alfie Evans is far from all of this now. Passing away on the morning of April 28, 2018, the young baptized Catholic entered Paradise to be with Christ and all of the saints in Heaven.