Parents ask court to allow medical care in Italy for terminally ill boy

By Sara Shayanian  |  April 25, 2018 at 2:31 PM
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April 25 (UPI) -- British judges heard an appeal Wednesday by the parents of Alfie Evans, a terminally ill 23-month old boy, who want to take the child abroad for potentially live-saving treatment.

Tom Evans and Kate James have so far been barred from seeking care in Italy, and have lost all legal challenges against doctors in Britain who switched off their ill son's ventilator this week.

Attorney Jason Coppel, representing James, said Wednesday her son needs "immediate intervention" -- while Evans' attorney, Paul Diamond, said he will leave "no stone unturned" to help his toddler receive critical medical care.

Tuesday, a High Court judge ruled the boy was allowed to return home, but not to travel to Rome for further treatment. The child, who has a degenerative neurological condition, is struggling to survive after life support was withdrawn Monday night.

Diamond argued to appellate judges Wednesday there's been a "significant change in circumstances," because Alfie has continued to breathe after being taken of the ventilator.

However, attorney Michael Mylonas, representing the British hospital, argued the boy wouldn't necessarily die right away -- and said he'd previously survived on separate occasions without a ventilator.

The toddler's parents have fought for months to take him to Italy.

"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," Tom Evans said Tuesday.

"We've also got a German air ambulance team, who attempted to take him in the first place, ready... the reality is these people are eager to get him out of the country and I'm not giving up because Alfie's breathing away, he's not suffering."

The case has gained global attention, and Tom Evans even visited Pope Francis to beg for asylum for his son.

The Italian government granted the toddler citizenship Monday.

"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," Pope Francis tweeted Monday.

European Parliament president Antonio Tajani suggested it's the right move to give Alfie another chance to be treated.

"Perhaps if they could have tried, without therapeutic rage, to be able to save him in Italy," Tajani said. "I want to give a word of hope also for this little European citizen whose life I believe must be in every way protected."

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee took to Twitter to criticize the British government for the High Court's decision.

"On the very day Brits celebrated the Royal baby, the U.K. government removed life support system from 23-month-old Alfie Evans and stationed a line of police to keep his frantic parents from moving him to another hospital that would grant him care," Huckabee tweeted. "A royal shame!"

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