The parents of a boy with a degenerative neurological condition have been locked in a legal battle in the UK as they seek further treatment to keep him alive.
The father of Alfie Evans, a seriously ill toddler at the heart of a much publicised UK court battle over his condition, has said his son’s life support has been turned off.
Tom Evans said the 23-month-old was breathing on his own and had received oxygen.
The boy has been treated at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool since December 2016 with a rare degenerative neurological condition, as yet undiagnosed.
Alfie’s parents have lost legal challenges against a ruling by the High Court that the hospital could withdraw life support. Tom Evans and Kate James had asked for a delay to allow time for a further appeal. Judges at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) have refused to intervene.
The couple’s barrister and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Monday that the child had been granted Italian citizenship. They want him to be flown for treatment to a hospital in Rome which has links with the Vatican.
Pope Francis, who has met Alfie’s parents, has renewed his support for the family and appealed for further treatment to be sought.
The hospital has argued that it is not in the boy’s “best interests” to keep him on a ventilator, describing further treatment as “futile” and also “unkind and inhumane”. In line with usual policy it has not commented on his condition.
On Monday protesters supporting the stance of Alfie’s parents tried to storm the hospital entrance. A candle-lit vigil was held outside the premises overnight on Monday.