A High Court judge is preparing another hearing in the case of a 23-month-old boy who has been at the centre of a life support treatment battle.
Mr Justice Hayden is scheduled to oversee another hearing in Alfie Evans’s case in the Family Division of the High Court in Manchester on Tuesday afternoon.
Doctors have been left “gobsmacked” after Alfie’s life-support was withdrawn but he continued to live, his father has said.
His parents, Thomas Evans and Kate James, will again argue at this afternoon’s hearing that Alfie should be allowed to travel to an Italian hospital for treatment.
A spokeswoman for the Christian Legal Centre, which is assisting Alfie’s parents, said the judge would be asked to allow medical experts in Italy to examine Alfie.
She said medics at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool had stopped providing “ventilation support” to Alfie shortly after 9pm on Monday. But she said Alfie continued to breathe independently.
“Alfie has survived much longer than the doctors predicted, lending support to the request from Alfie’s parents for Alfie to be seen by medical experts in Italy,” she said.
“An air ambulance is now waiting outside Alder Hey Hospital ready to take Alfie to hospital in Italy.”
She said a barrister representing Alfie’s parents, who are both in their 20s and from Liverpool, would argue that it could not be in Alfie’s best interests to be “left to die in Alder Hey”.
The spokeswoman added: “He will argue that Alfie should be allowed to travel to Italy where doctors are ready to care for him.”
Earlier on Monday, Mr Evans said it was obvious that the youngster was breathing unassisted “within a few minutes” of life-support being withdrawn on Monday night.
Mr Evans said his son is ‘doing as good as he can’.
Yesterday, High Court judge Mr Justice Hayden dismissed a ‘last-ditch appeal’ by Alfie’s parents and said doctors at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool could stop providing life-support treatment.
Speaking to reporters this morning, Mr Evans said: ‘For nine hours Alfie’s been breathing for now.
‘He’s still breathing now. It’s come to a point when his mum’s actually asleep next to him so she can go to sleep, she feels comfortable with him.’
Mr Evans said it became obvious he was breathing ‘within a few minutes’ of life-support being withdrawn, although doctors re-intervened after he asked them to help.
He said: ‘I sat down with the doctor, it was a lengthy talk for about 40 minutes and he ended up saying that I’m right, and I was right, I’ve always been right.’
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Mr Evans continued: ‘They say Alfie’s suffering. Well look at him now. He’s not even on a ventilator and he’s not suffering.’
Asked what intervention doctors had made, he replied: ‘They left him for six hours without food, water and oxygen.
‘I felt blessed when they confirmed they were going to give him his water and his oxygen.
‘He’s now on oxygen. It’s not changing his breathing but it’s oxygenating his body.
‘He is still working, he’s doing as good as he can. But we do need him to be supported… in the next hour it’s going to be hard but we will need him to be supported in the next hour or two.
‘Because he’s been doing it for nine hours totally unexpected, the doctors are gobsmacked and I do believe he will need some form of life support in the next couple of hours and I think he ought to be respected and given that.’
Mr Evans and Ms James, who are both in their early 20s and from Liverpool, had asked for a delay to give them time to mount a further challenge.
Alfie’s parents want treatment to continue and are fighting to fly him to a hospital in Rome.
Barrister Paul Diamond, who represents the couple, told the judge that Alfie had been granted Italian citizenship on Monday, after Pope Francis expressed support for the couple.
But Mr Justice Hayden dismissed Mr Diamond’s application, saying it amounted to a ‘last-ditch appeal’, adding: ‘Alfie is a British citizen, he is undoubtedly habitually resident in the UK.
‘He falls therefore under the jurisdiction of the High Court.’
At one point on Monday supporters of the family had attempted to storm Alder Hey, running towards the main doors before police blocked their way.
— Radio City News (@RadioCityNews) April 23, 2018
Police remained outside the entrances to the children’s hospital throughout the day.
Judges have heard that Alfie, born on May 9 2016, is in a ‘semi-vegetative state’ and has a degenerative neurological condition doctors had not definitively diagnosed.
Specialists say his brain has been ‘eroded’.
In February, Mr Justice Hayden had ruled that doctors at Alder Hey could stop treating Alfie against the wishes of his parents following hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London and Liverpool.
Specialists at Alder Hey said life support treatment should stop and Mr Justice Hayden said he accepted medical evidence which showed that further treatment was futile.