Tag Archives: parents

Alfie Evans’ parents lose latest legal battle at UK’s highest court

The parents of a seriously ill baby who want to take him to Italy for treatment have lost the latest round of their legal fight after the UK’s highest court ruled that almost all of their son’s brain had been destroyed.

Judges at the supreme court have approved a plan for withdrawing treatment to 23-month-old Alfie Evans, who has an undiagnosed degenerative neurological condition.

Alfie’s parents, Tom Evans and Kate James, made their second application to the supreme court after losing a second fight at the court of appeal this week.

But on Friday three supreme court justices dismissed the pair’s application, agreeing with Alfie’s doctors by saying “there is no hope of him getting better”.

Lady Hale, the supreme court president, Lord Kerr and Lord Wilson outlined their reasons in a written explanation.

They said a person unable to move because of measures taken in a hospital intensive care unit to keep them alive was not being “deprived of liberty”.

There was no reason for further delay, the justices said, adding: “The hospital must be free to do what has been determined to be in Alfie’s best interests.

“Alfie looks like a normal baby, but the unanimous opinion of the doctors who have examined him and the scans of his brain is that almost all of his brain has been destroyed.

“No one knows why. But that it has happened and is continuing to happen cannot be denied. It means that Alfie cannot breathe, or eat, or drink without sophisticated medical treatment. It also means that there is no hope of his ever getting better.”

Supreme court ruling document


The front cover of the ruling by Lady Hale, Lord Kerr and Lord Wilson in the latest round of the legal fight for the treatment of 23-month-old Alfie Evans. Photograph: Supreme Court/PA

Alfie’s father responded angrily to the decision. Writing on Facebook he said of his son: “He isn’t suffering, he isn’t in pain. He isn’t diagnosed,” adding that Alfie had been “left” on a feeding tube for 15 months.

Evans and James want to move their son from Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool to a clinic in Rome. They say Italian doctors are willing to treat the boy and an air ambulance is available.

Alfie’s medical team have successfully argued that his life support should be turned off. He has been seriously ill since having a seizure in December 2016 when he was seven months old.

Three appeal court judges had endorsed a plan drawn up by doctors this week. But they said treatment should continue until supreme court justices had made a decision.

Judges said no detail of the plan could be made public because Alfie was entitled to privacy as his life came to a close.

Alfie’s parents had previously lost one round of fights, in the high court, court of appeal, supreme court and the European court of human rights.

In February, Mr Justice Hayden ruled that doctors at Alder Hey could stop treating Alfie against the wishes of his parents, after 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 that showed further treatment was futile. He said flying Alfie to a foreign hospital would be wrong and pointless.

Court of appeal judges upheld his decisions.

The supreme court justices and European court of human rights’ judges refused to intervene.

Alfie’s parents had also argued that their son was being wrongly “detained” at Alder Hey and had made a habeas corpus application, which requires a court to examine the legality of a detention. It is a piece of common law which probably dates to Anglo-Saxon times.

Hayden dismissed that claim last week; appeal judges upheld his decision.

A spokeswoman for the supreme court said: “Having considered submissions from the parties ‘on paper’, in the usual way, the supreme court of the United Kingdom has refused permission for the parents to appeal.”

Alfie’s parents would make another appeal to courts in Strasbourg to keep their son alive, their legal representatives said.

Andrea Williams, the chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which is representing Alfie’s family, said: “We are going to appeal to the European court of human rights in the hope that we can stay the end of life order our courts have made. We are appealing today because we have got to act quickly. The parents are devoted parents.”

Parents of Alfie Evans apply to take son’s case back to supreme court

The parents of a 23-month-old boy at the centre of a life-support treatment battle have applied to the supreme court to appeal against a ruling that treatment should be removed from the child.

Court of appeal judges ruled on Monday that Tom Evans, 21, and Kate James, 20, could not take their son Alfie Evans abroad to receive treatment for a rare degenerative brain disease. The couple, from Liverpool, have so far lost cases in the high court, court of appeal, supreme court and European court of human rights.

The child’s parents insist they have seen improvements in their son’s condition and want to move him to a hospital in Rome where they believe he will receive better treatment. Judges have heard that Alfie is in a “semi-vegetative state” and that further treatment would be futile.

The supreme court confirmed on Tuesday that the couple had filed an application to appeal. “They wish to challenge the decision that Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust can withdraw artificial ventilation from their child,” it said.

“The application will be referred to the President of the Supreme Court, Lady Hale, and two other members of the Court who will form the decision panel. The hospital and Alfie’s legal guardian (the person who provides the independent voice of the child in court) will then be asked to provide their views. The Court is aware of the urgency of this matter.”

The basis of the couple’s latest appeal is that their son is being wrongly detained by Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool. They have made a “habeas corpus” application, Latin for “you may have the body”. The Habeas Corpus Act 1679 allows anybody to have the legality of a detention examined.

On Monday, an appeal court panel of Lord Justice Davis, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Moylan upheld a ruling by the high court judge Mr Justice Hayden, who endorsed a detailed plan put forward by Alder Hey doctors for withdrawing life-support treatment.

The judge said the unanimous view of medical experts was that Alfie’s brain had been eroded by disease and further assessment was pointless.

Reading a statement outside the hospital two hours after the appeal court decision, Tom Evans thanked the supporters surrounding him and again asked for his son’s life not be terminated.

“They can’t break us, we are never going to back down,” he said. “Alfie, the family and all of our supporters are stronger than ever and we will keep fighting all the way. We will never give up on you Alfie.”

An Alder Hey spokesman said: “The Supreme Court will now consider the application for permission to appeal the decision of the Court of Appeal. Our priority is to continue providing Alfie with the best care possible.”

Parents of Alfie Evans lose court fight over life support

The parents of a 23-month-old boy at the centre of a life-support treatment battle have lost their latest legal fight to allow the child to be moved to a foreign hospital for treatment.

Court of appeal judges ruled on Monday that Tom Evans, 21, and Kate James, 20, could not take their son Alfie Evans abroad to receive treatment for a rare degenerative brain disease.

Alfie Evans


Alfie Evans. Photograph: PA

The couple, from Liverpool, have already lost cases in the high court, court of appeal, supreme court and European court of human rights. Judges have heard that Alfie is in a “semi-vegetative state” and that further treatment would be futile.

The child’s parents want to move their son to a hospital in Rome where they believe he will receive better treatment. They say doctors at Alder Hey children’s hospital in Liverpool have refused to let them remove Alfie from the premises.

On Monday afternoon, appeal judges Lord Justice Davis, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Moylan upheld a ruling by high court judge Mr Justice Hayden, who endorsed a detailed plan put forward by Alder Hey doctors for withdrawing life-support treatment.

Hayden said details of that plan could not be revealed because Alfie was entitled to privacy at the end of his life.

Barrister for the parents, Paul Diamond, said the couple might make a further appeal to the Supreme Court. Appeal court judges said doctors should continue treating Alfie pending a Supreme Court decision.

Last week, Alfie’s parents said their son had improved in recent weeks and they had asked Hayden to allow a new assessment, but he refused. The judge said the unanimous view of medical experts was that Alfie’s brain had been eroded by disease and further assessment was pointless. The child’s parents also suggested that Alfie was being unlawfully detained at Alder Hey, but the judge dismissed that suggestion.

The latest challenge came as Alder Hey children’s hospital employed extra security personnel because of demonstrations in support of the toddler’s parents. The hospital said noise from protesters outside the building on Sunday night had disturbed other young patients.

Some hospital visitors described the protest as “a circus” and said there was a bouncy castle, people drinking alcohol, and “children running everywhere” as 100 supporters gathered outside on Sunday night.

One patient’s relative, who did not want to be named, told BBC Radio Merseyside that visiting Alder Hey was “intimidating and scary” and that she heard chants of “burn it down” from protestors, which she said was “taking it too far”.

Alder Hey said in a statement: “We would ask that noise levels outside the hospital are kept to a minimum and for example car horns are not sounded.

“Loud and constant noise, such as from car horns, affects sleep and raises anxiety levels for our patients, especially when recovering from procedures, so please bear them in mind.”

Shortly after the statement, Evans posted a video on Facebook of Alfie’s hospital room, from which he said patients could only hear the noise outside if the window was opened. Car horns and cheering could be heard when Evans did so.

Alder Hey advised visitors that there would be more security inside the hospital “and a more controlled approach to access to certain areas”.

Alfie Evans’ parents return to court amid Alder Hey protests

The parents of a boy at the centre of a life-support treatment battle are to launch another legal challenge.

Tom Evans, 21, and Kate James, 20, will ask court of appeal judges on Monday to allow their 23-month-old son, Alfie Evans, to continue to receive treatment.

Alfie Evans


Alfie Evans. Photograph: PA

The couple, from Liverpool, have already lost cases in the high court, court of appeal, supreme court and European court of human rights.

The latest challenge came as the hospital where Alfie is being treated for a rare degenerative brain disease said it had employed extra security personnel because of demonstrations in support of the toddler’s parents.

Evans has said doctors at Alder Hey children’s hospital, in Liverpool, refused to let him remove Alfie from the premises. The parents want to move him to a hospital in Rome or Germany.

Alder Hey said noise from protesters outside the hospital on Sunday night had disturbed other young patients.

“We would ask that noise levels outside the hospital are kept to a minimum and for example car horns are not sounded,” it said in a statement. “Loud and constant noise, such as from car horns, affects sleep and raises anxiety levels for our patients, especially when recovering from procedures, so please bear them in mind.”

Shortly after the statement, Evans posted a video on Facebook of Alfie’s hospital room, from which he said patients could only hear the noise outside if the window was opened. Car horns and cheering could be heard when Evans did so.

Alder Hey advised visitors that there would be more security inside the hospital “and a more controlled approach to access to certain areas”.

Last week, the high court judge Mr Justice Hayden endorsed a detailed plan put forward by Alder Hey doctors for withdrawing life-support treatment.

He said details of that plan could not be revealed because Alfie was entitled to privacy at the end of his life.

The Christian Legal Centre, a group that fights for Christians’ rights and is helping Alfie’s parents, said appeal court judges would be asked to overturn at least one decision made by Hayden last week.

Alfie’s parents last week said their son had improved in recent weeks and they had asked Hayden to allow a new assessment, but he refused. The judge said the unanimous view of medical experts was that Alfie’s brain had been eroded by disease and further assessment was pointless. They also suggested that Alfie was being unlawfully detained at Alder Hey, but the judge dismissed that suggestion.

Appeal court officials said an appeal court judge had decided that Alfie should continue to receive treatment pending the outcome of the hearing that begins on Monday.

Judges have heard that Alfie is in a “semi-vegetative state” and has a degenerative neurological condition that doctors had been unable to diagnose definitively.

Alfie Evans’ parents return to court amid Alder Hey protests

The parents of a boy at the centre of a life-support treatment battle are to launch another legal challenge.

Tom Evans, 21, and Kate James, 20, will ask court of appeal judges on Monday to allow their 23-month-old son, Alfie Evans, to continue to receive treatment.

Alfie Evans


Alfie Evans. Photograph: PA

The couple, from Liverpool, have already lost cases in the high court, court of appeal, supreme court and European court of human rights.

The latest challenge came as the hospital where Alfie is being treated for a rare degenerative brain disease said it had employed extra security personnel because of demonstrations in support of the toddler’s parents.

Evans has said doctors at Alder Hey children’s hospital, in Liverpool, refused to let him remove Alfie from the premises. The parents want to move him to a hospital in Rome or Germany.

Alder Hey said noise from protesters outside the hospital on Sunday night had disturbed other young patients.

“We would ask that noise levels outside the hospital are kept to a minimum and for example car horns are not sounded,” it said in a statement. “Loud and constant noise, such as from car horns, affects sleep and raises anxiety levels for our patients, especially when recovering from procedures, so please bear them in mind.”

Shortly after the statement, Evans posted a video on Facebook of Alfie’s hospital room, from which he said patients could only hear the noise outside if the window was opened. Car horns and cheering could be heard when Evans did so.

Alder Hey advised visitors that there would be more security inside the hospital “and a more controlled approach to access to certain areas”.

Last week, the high court judge Mr Justice Hayden endorsed a detailed plan put forward by Alder Hey doctors for withdrawing life-support treatment.

He said details of that plan could not be revealed because Alfie was entitled to privacy at the end of his life.

The Christian Legal Centre, a group that fights for Christians’ rights and is helping Alfie’s parents, said appeal court judges would be asked to overturn at least one decision made by Hayden last week.

Alfie’s parents last week said their son had improved in recent weeks and they had asked Hayden to allow a new assessment, but he refused. The judge said the unanimous view of medical experts was that Alfie’s brain had been eroded by disease and further assessment was pointless. They also suggested that Alfie was being unlawfully detained at Alder Hey, but the judge dismissed that suggestion.

Appeal court officials said an appeal court judge had decided that Alfie should continue to receive treatment pending the outcome of the hearing that begins on Monday.

Judges have heard that Alfie is in a “semi-vegetative state” and has a degenerative neurological condition that doctors had been unable to diagnose definitively.

Alfie Evans’ parents return to court amid Alder Hey protests

The parents of a boy at the centre of a life-support treatment battle are to launch another legal challenge.

Tom Evans, 21, and Kate James, 20, will ask court of appeal judges on Monday to allow their 23-month-old son, Alfie Evans, to continue to receive treatment.

Alfie Evans


Alfie Evans. Photograph: PA

The couple, from Liverpool, have already lost cases in the high court, court of appeal, supreme court and European court of human rights.

The latest challenge came as the hospital where Alfie is being treated for a rare degenerative brain disease said it had employed extra security personnel because of demonstrations in support of the toddler’s parents.

Evans has said doctors at Alder Hey children’s hospital, in Liverpool, refused to let him remove Alfie from the premises. The parents want to move him to a hospital in Rome or Germany.

Alder Hey said noise from protesters outside the hospital on Sunday night had disturbed other young patients.

“We would ask that noise levels outside the hospital are kept to a minimum and for example car horns are not sounded,” it said in a statement. “Loud and constant noise, such as from car horns, affects sleep and raises anxiety levels for our patients, especially when recovering from procedures, so please bear them in mind.”

Shortly after the statement, Evans posted a video on Facebook of Alfie’s hospital room, from which he said patients could only hear the noise outside if the window was opened. Car horns and cheering could be heard when Evans did so.

Alder Hey advised visitors that there would be more security inside the hospital “and a more controlled approach to access to certain areas”.

Last week, the high court judge Mr Justice Hayden endorsed a detailed plan put forward by Alder Hey doctors for withdrawing life-support treatment.

He said details of that plan could not be revealed because Alfie was entitled to privacy at the end of his life.

The Christian Legal Centre, a group that fights for Christians’ rights and is helping Alfie’s parents, said appeal court judges would be asked to overturn at least one decision made by Hayden last week.

Alfie’s parents last week said their son had improved in recent weeks and they had asked Hayden to allow a new assessment, but he refused. The judge said the unanimous view of medical experts was that Alfie’s brain had been eroded by disease and further assessment was pointless. They also suggested that Alfie was being unlawfully detained at Alder Hey, but the judge dismissed that suggestion.

Appeal court officials said an appeal court judge had decided that Alfie should continue to receive treatment pending the outcome of the hearing that begins on Monday.

Judges have heard that Alfie is in a “semi-vegetative state” and has a degenerative neurological condition that doctors had been unable to diagnose definitively.

Alfie Evans’ parents return to court amid Alder Hey protests

The parents of a boy at the centre of a life-support treatment battle are to launch another legal challenge.

Tom Evans, 21, and Kate James, 20, will ask court of appeal judges on Monday to allow their 23-month-old son, Alfie Evans, to continue to receive treatment.

Alfie Evans


Alfie Evans. Photograph: PA

The couple, from Liverpool, have already lost cases in the high court, court of appeal, supreme court and European court of human rights.

The latest challenge came as the hospital where Alfie is being treated for a rare degenerative brain disease said it had employed extra security personnel because of demonstrations in support of the toddler’s parents.

Evans has said doctors at Alder Hey children’s hospital, in Liverpool, refused to let him remove Alfie from the premises. The parents want to move him to a hospital in Rome or Germany.

Alder Hey said noise from protesters outside the hospital on Sunday night had disturbed other young patients.

“We would ask that noise levels outside the hospital are kept to a minimum and for example car horns are not sounded,” it said in a statement. “Loud and constant noise, such as from car horns, affects sleep and raises anxiety levels for our patients, especially when recovering from procedures, so please bear them in mind.”

Shortly after the statement, Evans posted a video on Facebook of Alfie’s hospital room, from which he said patients could only hear the noise outside if the window was opened. Car horns and cheering could be heard when Evans did so.

Alder Hey advised visitors that there would be more security inside the hospital “and a more controlled approach to access to certain areas”.

Last week, the high court judge Mr Justice Hayden endorsed a detailed plan put forward by Alder Hey doctors for withdrawing life-support treatment.

He said details of that plan could not be revealed because Alfie was entitled to privacy at the end of his life.

The Christian Legal Centre, a group that fights for Christians’ rights and is helping Alfie’s parents, said appeal court judges would be asked to overturn at least one decision made by Hayden last week.

Alfie’s parents last week said their son had improved in recent weeks and they had asked Hayden to allow a new assessment, but he refused. The judge said the unanimous view of medical experts was that Alfie’s brain had been eroded by disease and further assessment was pointless. They also suggested that Alfie was being unlawfully detained at Alder Hey, but the judge dismissed that suggestion.

Appeal court officials said an appeal court judge had decided that Alfie should continue to receive treatment pending the outcome of the hearing that begins on Monday.

Judges have heard that Alfie is in a “semi-vegetative state” and has a degenerative neurological condition that doctors had been unable to diagnose definitively.

Alfie Evans’ parents return to court amid Alder Hey protests

The parents of a boy at the centre of a life-support treatment battle are to launch another legal challenge.

Tom Evans, 21, and Kate James, 20, will ask court of appeal judges on Monday to allow their 23-month-old son, Alfie Evans, to continue to receive treatment.

Alfie Evans


Alfie Evans. Photograph: PA

The couple, from Liverpool, have already lost cases in the high court, court of appeal, supreme court and European court of human rights.

The latest challenge came as the hospital where Alfie is being treated for a rare degenerative brain disease said it had employed extra security personnel because of demonstrations in support of the toddler’s parents.

Evans has said doctors at Alder Hey children’s hospital, in Liverpool, refused to let him remove Alfie from the premises. The parents want to move him to a hospital in Rome or Germany.

Alder Hey said noise from protesters outside the hospital on Sunday night had disturbed other young patients.

“We would ask that noise levels outside the hospital are kept to a minimum and for example car horns are not sounded,” it said in a statement. “Loud and constant noise, such as from car horns, affects sleep and raises anxiety levels for our patients, especially when recovering from procedures, so please bear them in mind.”

Shortly after the statement, Evans posted a video on Facebook of Alfie’s hospital room, from which he said patients could only hear the noise outside if the window was opened. Car horns and cheering could be heard when Evans did so.

Alder Hey advised visitors that there would be more security inside the hospital “and a more controlled approach to access to certain areas”.

Last week the high court judge Mr Justice Hayden endorsed a detailed plan put forward by Alder Hey doctors for withdrawing life-support treatment.

He said details of that plan could not be revealed because Alfie was entitled to privacy at the end of his life.

The Christian Legal Centre, a group that fights for Christians’ rights and is helping Alfie’s parents, said appeal court judges would be asked to overturn at least one decision made by Hayden last week.

Alfie’s parents last week said their son had improved in recent weeks and they had asked Hayden to allow a new assessment, but he refused. The judge said the unanimous view of medical experts was that Alfie’s brain had been eroded by disease and further assessment was pointless. They also suggested that Alfie was being unlawfully detained at Alder Hey, but the judge dismissed that suggestion.

Appeal court officials said an appeal court judge had decided that Alfie should continue to receive treatment pending the outcome of the hearing that begins on Monday.

Judges have heard that Alfie is in a “semi-vegetative state” and has a degenerative neurological condition that doctors had been unable to diagnose definitively.

Parents of Hector Kirkham who died from meningitis urge others to be vigilant

The parents of a three-year-old boy who died from meningitis have advised other parents to look for signs of the disease.

Hector Kirkham, from Lancaster, was taken to the Royal Lancaster Infirmary on 27 March after contracting meningococcal septicaemia, but died later that day.

Another child from his nursery, Little Learners in Galgate, was taken to hospital with the disease but has since been discharged.

Hector’s mother, Charlotte, and father, Lee, described him as a “gorgeous, cheeky, happy boy”.

They said: “Hector was perfect in every way, our absolute world, our sunshine, our very best friend. Hector became very poorly very fast from contracting meningococcal septicaemia. Hector’s symptoms of sickness and a temperature only presented 12 hours before we sadly lost the love of our lives.

“We urge all parents to be vigilant and any signs or symptoms that point towards meningitis being a possibility please, please seek urgent medical advice, don’t delay.”

Public Health England said it was working closely with the nursery and all children and staff had been offered antibiotics.

Grainne Nixon, health protection nurse consultant for Public Health England North West, said: “We understand that there will be concern among parents and staff at the nursery, and we’d like to assure parents that the risk of another case arising in the nursery is very low.

“Meningococcal disease does not spread very easily. As a precaution, all children and staff at the nursery have been offered antibiotics to reduce the chance of them carrying the bacteria which causes the disease.

“PHE has also written to staff and parents of children at the nursery to provide information and remind them of the signs and symptoms of meningococcal infection, which can cause meningitis as well as septicaemia. Children and staff who are well have been advised to attend nursery as normal.

“Although meningococcal disease is uncommon, people should be aware of the symptoms that can include a fever, headache, rapid breathing, drowsiness, shivering, vomiting and cold hands and feet. It can also cause a characteristic rash which does not fade when pressed against a glass. Also, some people may experience diarrhoea and vomiting.

“Early recognition of meningitis and septicaemia symptoms can greatly improve the outcome of the disease and so anyone who is concerned about any of these symptoms, at any time, should seek medical advice immediately or call NHS 111.”

Premature babies healthier when parents help with hospital care, study shows

Babies in trial put on more weight in first three weeks and parents were less stressed

Premature baby hand


The study was inspired by the example of a hospital in Estonia. Photograph: Jennifer Polixenni Brankin/Getty Images

Premature babies do better if their parents are allowed to help care for them in hospital alongside the nurses, rather than being treated as visitors and left on the sidelines, a new study shows.

Many parents feel acutely anxious, stressed and out of control when their child is in a newborn intensive care unit and there seems to be nothing they can do for her. Inspired by the example of a hospital in Estonia that brings in parents to help with basic care of their baby, doctors in Canada organised a major study in three countries – Canada, Australia and New Zealand – to see what the effect is on the baby.

In their paper in the Lancet Child and Adolescent Health journal, they say that feeling excluded in the premature baby unit could have long-term consequences for the parents. “These feelings of helplessness, anxiety, depression, and fear might contribute to their inability to assume normal parenting roles,” they write.

The study involved 26 hospitals and nearly 1,800 babies, half of whom had basic care from their parents alongside the nursing staff, while the other half did not. Parents had to commit to spending six hours a day, five days a week, in the unit and were trained to help. They bathed, fed and dressed their babies, changed nappies, gave oral medication and took temperatures. They were encouraged to take part in decisions about the baby’s treatment, join ward rounds and chart their infant’s growth and progress.

The babies on what was called FiCare – family integrated care – had put on more weight by 21 days, their parents were less stressed and once the baby went home, the mothers were more likely to breastfeed frequently than mothers who had been less involved in the hospital.

“How care is provided to the family, not just the infant, has a positive effect on the wellbeing of both infant and family,” says Dr Karel O’Brien, of the department of paediatrics, Sinai Health System, Toronto, Canada. “Weight gain, breastfeeding and reduced parental stress and anxiety are all associated with positive neurodevelopmental outcomes, suggesting that integrating parents into the care of infants at this early stage could potentially have longer-term benefits.”