In the wee hours of Saturday morning, 23-month-old Alfie Evans yielded up his spirit, after days of fighting on after staff at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital removed his ventilator in an act intended to result in his death. The British courts ruled that such a death was in his “best interest.”
“Our baby boy grew his wings tonight at 2:30 am. We are heart broken. Thank you everyone for all your support,” Kate James, Alfie Evans’ mother, shared on Facebook.
“My gladiator lay down his shield and gained his wings at 2:30,” Tom Evans, the boy’s father, announced on Facebook. He said he and his wife were “absolutely heartbroken,” adding, “I LOVE YOU MY GUY.”
The tragedy may have been inevitable, but the young boy’s death was helped along by the same British court system that prevented the parents of Charlie Gard from taking their terminally ill 11-month-old boy to New York for experimental treatment.
In an Orwellian turn of events, High Court Justice Anthony Hayden ruled that it was “in Alfie’s best interest” for him to “conclude his life, as he has lived it, with dignity.”
Evans had fallen into a “semi-vegetative state” and had been in the hospital since December 2016. Hospital staff claimed that the doctors determined there was no hope for successful treatment, but a hospital in Rome, Italy, agreed that some further treatment could be done, albeit at a significant risk that Alfie Evans would be damaged by a trip to this hospital.
Tom Evans fought for the right to get his son whatever experimental treatment would be possible, but the British courts struck down his plea, ruling that it was in the “best interest” of Alfie Evans to die.
Even so, when the ventilator was removed on Monday, the young boy did not immediately die as doctors had predicted. Instead, he lingered on long enough to require food and drink through his feeding tube. He only died in the wee hours of Saturday morning, not quite five days after his expected time of death.
British celebrities like Piers Morgan tweeted condolences. “RIP Alfie Evans. My deepest condolences to his parents, who fought so hard for their brave little boy,” Morgan tweeted.
RIP Alfie Evans.
My deepest condolences to his parents, who fought so hard for their brave little boy. pic.twitter.com/pKfup3J7bX
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) April 28, 2018
Pope Francis added that he was “deeply moved” by Evans’ death. “I am deeply moved by the death of little Alfie. Today I pray especially for his parents, as God the Father receives him in his tender embrace,” the pontiff tweeted.
I am deeply moved by the death of little Alfie. Today I pray especially for his parents, as God the Father receives him in his tender embrace.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) April 28, 2018
Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee weighed in. “Up at 3am for early flight and learned that little Alfie Evans had died,” Huckabee tweeted. “Maybe he would have even if UK govt had allowed his parents to take their own child to Italy to seek other treatment, but we’ll never know. Alfie is dead. Govt is not God.”
Up at 3am for early flight and learned that little Alfie Evans had died. Maybe he would have even if UK govt had allowed his parents to take their own child to Italy to seek other treatment, but we’ll never know. Alfie is dead. Govt is not God.
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) April 28, 2018
Others proved far less measured than Huckabee. “RIP Alfie Evans, a little warrior who was murdered by the British state,” John P. Acquaviva, a Venezuelan refugee living in Britain, tweeted. “May the guilt weigh on the conscience of everyone involved in the killing of this child for the rest of their lives and may this be a turning point for what we as a society are willing to allow.”
RIP Alfie Evans, a little warrior who was murdered by the British state, may the guilt weigh on the conscience of everyone involved in the killing of this child for the rest of their lives and may this be a turning point for what we as a society are willing to allow. pic.twitter.com/FEHNjqxbzC
— John P. Acquaviva (@IAm2skilled) April 28, 2018
“If Alfie Evans was a dog, his murder would have sparked about ten times the outrage,” conservative commentator Matt Walsh quipped.
If Alfie Evans was a dog, his murder would have sparked about ten times the outrage
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) April 28, 2018
“Socialized healthcare killed Alfie Evans,” Daniel Turner, executive director of the group Power the Future, declared. “In the UK the government decides who lives or not. It’s sick. We must never let socialized medicine take full effect in the USA. Repeal Obamacare now.”
Socialized healthcare killed Alfie Evans. In the UK the government decides who lives or not. It’s sick. We must never let socialized medicine take full effect in the USA. Repeal Obamacare now. https://t.co/e3jubETg1A
— Daniel Turner (@DanielTurnerPTF) April 28, 2018
As Huckabee noted, Alfie Evans may have died anyway, but the Orwellian insistence that the state knows better than a child’s parents, and that drastic attempts to save the life of a terminally ill little boy are not in his “best interest,” is utterly terrifying.
Assaults on parental rights have ramped up in recent years, often as a result of the LGBT movement. Beyond the cases of Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans, U.S. parents have lost custody of their 17-year-old daughter when they refused to support her transgender identity as male. The judge in that case similarly ruled that the child’s “best interests” as defined by doctors overrule parental rights. Similarly, schools have been ordered by courts not to warn parents before their children are taught about LGBT issues.
The immense weight of the tragedy — a government implicit in essentially demanding the death of one of its most vulnerable citizens — may be partially outweighed by the huge outpouring of support for Alfie Evans. A Facebook group called “Alfie’s Army” has amassed more than 617,000 members. A petition demanding that Alder Hey release Alfie Evans to the hospital of his parents’ choice had garnered nearly 600,000 signatures. A crowdfunding effort has raised £131,423 ($181,319.32).
Alfie Evans has died, and may he rest in peace. But the controversy is far from over. British authorities will have to answer for their efforts to prevent this young boy’s parents from seeking treatment, and the whole episode should serve as a wakeup call in today’s big government age.