Parents of brain-damaged Alfie prepare for appeal hearing

The parents of a brain-damaged boy are preparing to mount an appeal after losing a life-support treatment battle in the High Court.

A judge on Tuesday ruled that doctors could stop treating 21-month-old Alfie Evans.

Mr Justice Hayden said he accepted medical evidence which showed further treatment was futile.

A supporter of Tom Evans and Kate James, the parents of baby Alfie Evans (Peter Byrne/PA)
A supporter of Tom Evans and Kate James, the parents of baby Alfie Evans (Peter Byrne/PA)

Appeal judges are scheduled to analyse the case at a Court of Appeal hearing in London on Thursday March 1.

Specialists at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool had asked Mr Justice Hayden to rule that life-support treatment could stop.

Alfie's parents Kate James and Tom Evans, who are in their 20s, wanted treatment to continue.

They said after Tuesday's ruling that they would continue to fight.

Tom Evans, the father of 21-month-old Alfie, after a judge ruled doctors could stop life-support treatment to him against the parents' wishes (John Stillwell/PA)
Tom Evans, the father of 21-month-old Alfie, after a judge ruled doctors could stop life-support treatment to him against the parents' wishes (John Stillwell/PA)

Mr Justice Hayden revisited the case at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London on Thursday February 22.

He said lawyers representing Alfie's parents could mount an appeal at a Court of Appeal hearing in London on Thursday March 1.

The judge said doctors should continue treating Alfie until appeal judges had made decisions.

He heard submissions from Michael Mylonas QC, who represents Alder Hey bosses, and Stephen Knafler QC, who represented Alfie's parents.

More than 3,000 people have donated more than £65,000 to an internet JustGiving appeal set up for Alfie.

Specialists had told Mr Justice Hayden that Alfie had a "progressive, ultimately fatal neurodegenerative condition" which had not been diagnosed - one doctor said it might become known as "Alfie's disease".

The judge said evidence showed that Alfie's brain had been "devastated by progressive degeneration", and he had been kept alive by a ventilator for months.

"Alfie has lost the capacity to hear, see, smell or respond to touch, other than reflexively," he had said in a ruling.

"All agree that it is unsafe to discount the possibility that Alfie continues to experience pain."

The judge said the evidence had "reluctantly and sadly" driven him to one conclusion.

"Properly analysed, Alfie's need now is for good quality palliative care," he said. "By this I mean care which will keep him as comfortable as possible at the last stage of his life.

"He requires peace, quiet and privacy in order that he may conclude his life, as he has lived it, with dignity.

"It was entirely right that every reasonable option should be explored for Alfie. I am now confident that this has occurred."

Lawyers representing Alder Hey said doctors had planned to stop providing life-support treatment on Friday February 23.

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