Vatican: Parents, hospital must talk in UK sick toddler case

LONDON — Pope Francis offered prayers after his traditional Sunday blessing in St. Peter's Square for Alfie Evans, a terminally ill British toddler whose parents are locked with hospital officials in a legal battle over his care.

The pontiff said such situations are "very painful and complex" as he prayed for Alfie and others who are suffering serious infirmities. He expressed hope that they "are always respected in their dignity and cared for in a way suitable to their conditions, with the agreement of family members, doctors and health workers."

Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, head of the Pontifical Academy of Life, a Vatican bioethics think tank, said earlier Sunday that Alfie's parents and hospital officials should work together so his life isn't "reduced to a legal dispute."

Francis' comments mark the second time in less than a year that he has intervened in the case of a terminally ill British child. Last July, he spoke out on behalf of Charlie Gard, who died of a rare genetic disease after a vicious court battle in which his parents sought treatment first in the United States and then Italy.

Alfie's parents are preparing for a hearing Monday at Britain's Court of Appeal during which they will try to overturn earlier rulings that have blocked further treatment. The High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and European Court of Human Rights have previously backed doctors, who say Alfie's condition is irreversible.

Alfie, now 23 months old, is in a "semi-vegetative state" at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool as the result of a degenerative neurological condition that doctors have been unable to definitively identify.

Protesters gathered outside the hospital last week after a judge endorsed a plan for doctors at Alder Hey to withdraw life support.

Speaking outside the hospital on Friday, Alfie's father, Tom Evans, 21, said he had chartered a jet to take the child to Italy but had been stopped by the hospital.

"If he stays here and dies, he dies," Evans said. "If he goes and he dies at least he has died a hero, trying."

The hospital said that it would not help Alfie to subject him to further tests.

"Alfie's clinical condition is truly heart-rending, but at each stage of the legal process, which has to be followed in such cases, the courts have agreed with the treating team and the independent expert advisers instructed by the trust and the family that Alfie's condition is irreversible and untreatable," the hospital said in a statement.

__

Barry reported in Milan, Italy.

Related News

Studies shine light on mysterious placenta, how...

Aug 12, 2016

Placenta is most mysterious organ: Scientists don't know how this tissue that nourishes a fetus...

No evidence Trump provided child care services...

Aug 12, 2016

No evidence is turning up to support Donald Trump's claim to have provided child care services to...

Southern California having smoggiest summer since...

Aug 12, 2016

Southern California sunshine means sparkling beach weather but this summer it's contributing to a...

Junk food fight: Science tests how birds compete...

Aug 12, 2016

It's the early bird that gets the Cheetos but it's the bigger bird that steals it away, scientists...

Kansas water park operates under limited state...

Aug 13, 2016

The huge Kansas City, Kansas, waterslide on which a 10-year-old boy recently died was built in a...

Video proves Clinton suffering seizures? Not so,...

Aug 13, 2016

Video purporting to show Clinton suffering a seizure is latest in unfounded speculation

About Us

Travel Leisure Mag is New York City’s travel and lifestyle online magazine with the vision of creating a unique blend of valuable and quality travel experience to the readers. We trust that you will enjoy this experience.

Contact us: sales[at]travelleisuremag.com