25Apr

Alfie Evans: further reflections

As people around the world look on in horror at the treatment of baby Alfie Evans, a few points worthy of reflection.

There are times doctors must make difficult decisions and extraordinary care needs to be withdrawn from a patient. This would include things like medicine and machines that enable lungs and heart to function. What is never acceptable, according to Catholic teaching, is withdrawal of ordinary care (food, water and oxygen) because at this point you shift from allowing natural death to enforcing unnatural death, eg.. EUTHANASIA. Alfie has not been fed for over 20 hours.

The time to remove extraordinary care is when somebody is already in the process of dying. That is to say they would die even if given ordinary care. Alfie Evans was NOT in the process of dying when food, water and oxygen were withdrawn. He could easily have been handed to another medical team and, thanks to the Vatican, that team was/is ready and waiting to help. That this has been refused cannot be said to be ‘in Alfie’s best interest’ when your ‘best interest’ for him is death by starvation and dehydration.

The medical staff are today claiming victim status and telling reporters they feel threatened. This is profoundly ironic given that the same authorities placed a police cordon around Alfie’s hospital bed and threatened his parents with taser should they take their child out of the room. If people are angry at the manner in which Alfie has been treated then the state needs to reflect on why that might be. Zero sympathy in these quarters given how the family have been treated.

Pride is a sin. Undoubtedly the medical staff never planned for this situation to arise. But it has blown into a global incident because people can see an obvious refusal to admit mistake and a desire to enforce power of state over the family. Whatever happened to doctors advise and parents decide? It strikes me a proud judge, a proud medical team coupled with a poor regard for the sanctity of life due to cultural attitudes lies behind much that is going wrong here.

The decision to remove food, water and oxygen was taken on the assurance Alfie would only survive minutes without breathing tube. When he survived an entire night without it that was the time for the authorities to apologise and review. Instead they pressed ahead and it now feels, rightly or wrongly, as if they are desperate for him to die to prove them right.

This blog has long warned of the danger of creeping liberal totalitarianism in the West. One in which the State claims for itself powers and privileges rightly belonging to our families. Here we see that write large. First they came for Alfie… How will we defend the rights of the family? It is a pressing concern for us all.

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20 thoughts on “Alfie Evans: further reflections

  1. Who in their right mind will place their child or other loved one in this particular hospital voluntarily in the future? I sincerely hope that they file for bankruptcy within the year…

  2. Normally I agree whole-heartedly with every syllable uttered by good Father Ed, but I’m troubled by this case. All the doctors treating the boy have reached their decision. The decision has been tested in the courts up to the highest level. The Catholic bishops have endorsed the decision. But the decision is wrong?
    Nobody is more anti-state intrusion than me, but surely we have to accept that when a complex decision of this kind is challenged, only the state via the legal system can adjudicate.
    Now we have a media circus, with countless do-gooders having their say, on the basis of far less knowledge of the facts of the case than the doctors, judges and bishops, the people on the spot.
    It seems that mistakes have been made in the boy’s treatment, but we will get into serious trouble if we choose to disregard the authority of the best available medical care and the integrity of our most senior judges.

    1. Your confidence in the authority of the “best medical care”, “the integrity of our most senior judges”, not to forget the bishops is very commendable … and very unconvincing.

      1. Then who would you rather took these immensely difficult decisions? The system is imperfect but I can’t see a better alternative.

  3. First, let me state unequivocally that I find Alfie’s, and his parents’, current predicament no less awful and unconscionable than Father Ed. I see no reason why, if alternative treatments that offer the faintest scintilla of hope or reassurance are available and accessible, Alfie should be “switched off”.
    “First, do no harm”? Were these treatments to carry a major risk of causing Alfie pain and distress without any prospect of prolonging his life we might well be on different ground. Given that medical opinion seems to assert that Alfie is incapable of feeling much at all it is hard to see how this argument might apply.
    No one, least of all a parent, would wish to see a child die without feeling that they – and everyone concerned in the child’s care – had done everything humanly possible to prevent it. Is it not an act of simple humanity to grant Alfie’s parents the chance to know that – regardless of outcome – they have “gone the extra mile”?
    Are dark and sinister forces at play here? I would suggest not. Alfies’s parents have acted as good parents would; his doctors have treated him to the best of their abilities; the judge has given an honest verdict based upon his expert knowledge of the law. The tragedy is that not only could they not all agree but that common sense and simple compassion seem to have slipped through the cracks of their disagreement.
    This is not the first case of its kind – nor, sadly, is it likely to be the last. I cannot but the think that the laws applicable in such cases need an in-depth review – followed by major change.
    In the meantime, both the press and the echo chamber of social media will continue to whip the public into a partially informed, semi- coherent rantfest in which the loudest voices to be heard will belong those who conflate genuine compassion with their own crackpot conspiracy theories.
    Rather than contributing further to the current frenzy might we not embrace the option to simply to shut up – and pray.

    1. Not shutting up built the pressure that re-instated the basic requirements of food, water and oxygen. That suggests silence is not always the best way, sometimes truth needs defending.

  4. The Truth – here it is

    “Over the past fortnight, hospital chair Sir David Henshaw said, staff had endured a “barrage of abuse”

    In an open letter, Sir David and chief executive Louise Shepherd said staff had been “deeply affected” by Alfie’s “desperate” story.

    “We share the heartbreak that occurs when a child cannot be cured and when a child dies,” they wrote.

    “All of us feel deeply for Alfie and his whole family and we continue to do everything we can to support them as best we can, just as we have for the last 17 months”.

    But, they said, staff had recently been the subject of “unprecedented personal abuse that has been hard to bear”.

    The hospital has seen several protests in recent weeks, and police have investigated claims patients and staff were intimidated.

    Sir David and Ms Shepherd said the previous fortnight had been “a very difficult time.”

    “As an organisation, we have endured attacks upon our motivation, our professionalism and our ethics,” they said.

    1. hospital staff deserve to be safe – but people also have a right to demonstrate.

      That said it is very rich that those who pushed to remove parental rites by force of law, starve a child to death, place policeman with tasers by a hospital room to stop law abiding parents removing their son…suddenly claim to be the victims here.

      What of the family? They have been treated disgracefully. You can’t then be surprised when their family, friends and supporters are angry and want to show it.

      suddenly claiming victim status

      1. As Christians do we condone the behavior of this pro-life mob??

        I support Alder Hey a world leader in pediatrics whose reputation is being tarnished by this mob!

        See Merseyside Police statement on social media comments about Alder Hey

        Merseyside Police have issued a statement this evening to make people aware that social media posts which are being posted in relation to Alder Hey and the Alfie Evans situation are “being monitored” and “may be acted upon.”

        Chief Inspector Chris Gibson said:

        “Merseyside Police has been made aware of a number of social media posts which have been made with reference to Alder Hey Hospital and the ongoing situation involving Alfie Evans.
        “I would like to make people aware that these posts are being monitored and remind social media users that any offences including malicious communications and threatening behaviour will be investigated and where necessary will be acted upon.”

        1. Which is chilling. Whatever happened to free speech. This is big brother tactics threatening any who dare question. I was appalled at that tweet from the police.

  5. As Christians do we condone the behavior of this pro-life mob??

    I support Alder Hey a world leader in pediatrics whose reputation is being tarnished by this mob!

    See Merseyside Police statement on social media comments about Alder Hey

    Merseyside Police have issued a statement this evening to make people aware that social media posts which are being posted in relation to Alder Hey and the Alfie Evans situation are “being monitored” and “may be acted upon.”

    Chief Inspector Chris Gibson said:

    “Merseyside Police has been made aware of a number of social media posts which have been made with reference to Alder Hey Hospital and the ongoing situation involving Alfie Evans.
    “I would like to make people aware that these posts are being monitored and remind social media users that any offences including malicious communications and threatening behaviour will be investigated and where necessary will be acted upon.”

  6. The authorities either civil, Judicial, medical or ecclesiastical are not to be trusted! The basic right to life ie the means to life are at stake here just to prove a point. Shame on the doctors and staff involved and all that support them – they will have much to answer for when their day comes.
    God help Alfie and his family – no one else is.

    God bless us all and keep us safe from Authority!

    Patrick.

    1. Dear Patrick Fahey,

      Since none of the authorities you list “are to be trusted”, in the unfortunate event of your falling victim to crime, civil suit, serious illness or accident, I strongly advise you to contact your nearest anarchist.

      1. Steve G,

        I think we can only reply upon ourselves – the state is not there to help the people it is there to perpetuate itself.

        Imaging your child being taken into hospital and being told they were going to let them die and you had no say in the matter irrespective of alternate offers of help.

        The state is anti-family.

        God Bless,

        Patrick.

  7. University of Liverpool statement

    A statement from the University of Liverpool’s Senior Management Team:

    “We would like to add our support to the open letter published by the Chair and Chief Executive of Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust on Wednesday, in relation to the case of Alfie Evans.

    “A number of the University’s clinical staff spend part of their time working alongside NHS colleagues at Alder Hey to care for the hundreds of children and their families who rely on the hospital for treatment and support each day.

    “While it is not appropriate for the University to comment on an individual patient’s care, we know that colleagues at the hospital strive to provide the very best available support to every patient and it is their expertise and commitment that have maintained Alder Hey’s reputation as an internationally renowned children’s hospital.

    “Despite this, along with their colleagues at the Trust, many of the University’s staff at Alder Hey have experienced extreme and unjustified personal abuse in recent weeks as they have sought to go about their work. Meanwhile many families visiting the hospital for treatment have experienced unwanted and unhelpful additional stress as a result of the public presence outside the building.

    “We would urge all those who wish to express a view on the very sad and difficult circumstances faced by Alfie and his family to do so in a peaceful and respectful way that allows staff and visitors to go about their activities without fear of abuse or intimidation.”

    1. That all the establishment voices are closing ranks proves what exactly? In the context of abuse of power from elites over the needs of parents?

  8. So when the medical profession, the judiciary, the police, and the Catholic bishops endorse one course of action, it’s the élite closing ranks against the needs of the parents.
    The establishment has its faults but I’d rather be judged by them than the mob, in the popular press, on social media, and on the pavements outside Alder Hey.

    1. I am a catholic. That means I oppose removing food and drink from sick and dying people in accordance to the teaching of my faith. If this were such a simple matter the current brouhaha would not be occurring. What of the pope, German children’s doctor who visited Alfie, needs of the family?

  9. Blog Web-site Problem?
    What has happened to the blog presentation? I can’t see what is happening because all the post links have gone. I’ve tried several different browsers running in Linux Systems and Windows 7 Pro. So, it must be a server problem.

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