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A Sanctioned Murder, Alfie Evans

British government kept a 23 month-old hostage. Doctors insisted medical treatment was futile and promoted the withdrawal of life support.

Alfie+Evans+died+eleven+days+before+his+2nd+birthday.+On+May+9th%2C+supporters+gathered+to+hold+a+vigil+to+mourn+the+23+month-old%27s+death.
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A Sanctioned Murder, Alfie Evans

Alfie Evans died eleven days before his 2nd birthday. On May 9th, supporters gathered to hold a vigil to mourn the 23 month-old's death.

Alfie Evans died eleven days before his 2nd birthday. On May 9th, supporters gathered to hold a vigil to mourn the 23 month-old's death.

https://twitter.com/alfiesarmy16?lang=en

Alfie Evans died eleven days before his 2nd birthday. On May 9th, supporters gathered to hold a vigil to mourn the 23 month-old's death.

https://twitter.com/alfiesarmy16?lang=en

https://twitter.com/alfiesarmy16?lang=en

Alfie Evans died eleven days before his 2nd birthday. On May 9th, supporters gathered to hold a vigil to mourn the 23 month-old's death.

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In the United States, parents have absolute rights over their children. When hospitalized, parents are given a choice to keep their child alive or not while on life support. Doctors in the United Kingdom, however,  have the right to appeal a parent’s decision in court when it is not in the child’s best interest. One of the most infamous cases in Britain is Charlie Gard, a boy whose life support was withdrawn after medical experts said there was no chance of saving their son after being diagnosed with Mitochondrial DNA Depletion Syndrome.

Alfie Evans was never able to celebrate a true Christmas; he was hospitalized at six months and spent the next 15 months on life support.

More recently, a similar case that has drawn international media attention is that of Alife Evans, who was born May 9th, 2016. On December 14th, 2016, after having suffered several seizures, Alfie became a patient at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool. He was diagnosed with a degenerative neurological condition, which allowed the neurons in his brain to breakdown. This caused him to remain in a semi-vegetative state for more than a year.

Alfie’s parents did not have to worry about the expense of medical bills, because Britain’s health care is free.  The United Kingdom is under socialized health care, a single-payer tax system where the government pays for and provides services. Hospitals are run by the National Health Service (NHS). This allows them to step in when it comes to medical decisions not being in the best interest of a child. When asked about the negative aspects of socialized health care, Ms. Wathen stated, “The idea of big government is always vulnerable to abuse of the system.”

Like any parents, Tom Evans and Kate James only cared about their child receiving proper medical treatment and seeing improvement in Alfie’s health. However, Alder Hey Hospital staff believed continuing treatment was “not in Alfie’s best interests.”  Thus began a long legal battle.  After the parents were taken to court, Mr Justice Hayden, a judge of the High Court, believed the child’s best interests were not being served. On February 20th, 2018, Mr Justice Hayden ruled in favor of the hospital, instructing doctors to withdraw life support on February 23rd.  LHS Junior John Adkins stated, “It’s the right for the parents to decide, unless the life support is hurting the child.”

The case was then taken to the Court of Appeal on March 6th, where judges upheld Hayden’s decision. The parents then tried to appeal the case to the Supreme Court. However, on March 20th the case was refused to be heard. On April 11th, 2018, Hayden endorsed an end-of-life care plan for Alfie, setting a date to end life support. That is when the Christian Legal Centre (CLC) stepped in to represent Alfie’s parents. On April 16th, the CLC lawyers claimed Alfie was being “unlawfully detained.” Their appeal was rejected for a second time.

On April 18th, 2018, Mr. Evans flew to Rome for a meeting with the Pope. Alfie’s parents wanted to take him to the Gambino Gesu Hospital in Rome for further treatment. The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs granted Alfie Italian citizenship on April 23rd. This prompted Justice Hayden responded to this with the statement, “Alfie is a British citizen, he is undoubtedly habitually resident in the UK. He falls, therefore, under the jurisdiction of the High Court.”  Alfie was thus prevented from immigrating to Italy, as his parents wished.

Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted after a series of tweets regarding Alfie Evans, “It is a grim reminder that systems of socialized medicine like the National Health Service (NHS) vest the state with power over human lives, transforming citizens into subjects.”

Twenty hours after doctors withdrew life support, Alfie was continuing to breathe unaided. Mr. Evans claimed his son was “significantly better.” Alfie’s parents launched a further appeal against the order preventing them from taking him to Italy.  However, the order was upheld by the court. Alfie Evans breathed naturally for five days after life support was withdrawn, he passed away April 28th, 2018.

Alfie Evans’s death marks the second young child to be killed by British law. Charlie Gard died a year earlier after going through a similar legal battle to keep the child’s life support on; he was only 11 months old when he past.

These two cases introduce the idea that the government did not want to pay for medical treatment anymore. They can do this due to their socialized health care system, but why did they not allow Alfie to go to another country where medical treatment was available? When asked in an interview, Ms. Norton, a government teacher at Lafayette, believes it is not fair to pull the plug to a child’s life support and that the government should not hold the child hostage. She added, vehemently, “You’re not going to pull the plug on my kid.”

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A Sanctioned Murder, Alfie Evans