By Carol Glatz | Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis asked that all efforts be made to accompany a seriously ill toddler in Great Britain whose parents are fighting a legal battle to keep him on life-support.
“It is my sincere hope that everything necessary may be done in order to continue compassionately accompanying little Alfie Evans, and that the deep suffering of his parents may be heard. I am praying for Alfie, for his family and for all who are involved,” the pope tweeted in English and six other languages late April 4.
It is my sincere hope that everything necessary may be done in order to continue compassionately accompanying little Alfie Evans, and that the deep suffering of his parents may be heard. I am praying for Alfie, for his family and for all who are involved.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) April 4, 2018
Doctors have not been able to make a definitive diagnosis of the 22-month-old child’s degenerative neurological condition; he has been on life-support at a children’s hospital in Liverpool.
However, doctors at the hospital have said keeping the toddler on life-support would be “futile,” and he should begin receiving palliative care. A high court judge backed a lower court’s ruling saying the hospital can go against the wishes of the family and withdraw life-support.
In an effort to fight that decision, the parents, Tom Evans and Kate James, brought their case to the European court of human rights, which found no indication of any human rights violations and declared their application “inadmissible” March 28.
The parents want to transfer their son to the Vatican-run Bambino Gesu pediatric hospital in Rome to see if it is possible to diagnose and treat his condition, but the high court ruling would prevent that from happening, according to the parents’ lawyer.
Two other babies from England, Charlie Gard and Isaiah Haastrup, died after their life-support was removed in 2017 and March 2018, respectively, again, against the wishes of the parents.