The British Government Prevents 2 Year-old From Receiving Treatment

Update 2:00pm 4/28/18: Alfie Evans passed several hours ago after being withdrawn from life support for several days.

In general I try to avoid commenting on the issue of socialized medicine, because I find almost all aspects of the modern discussion about it completely unproductive. There are horrible conflicts of interest and highly backwards incentives lurking around every corner, private or public, but one thing is for sure, the British system is not ideal.

On Tuesday, April 24th, a British court sided with “doctors,” against the parents, in the case of a small child with a suspected terminal Mitochondrial disease.

Parents Tom Evans and Kate James were suing to allow their child, 23 month old Alfie Evans, to be transferred, free of charge, by Italian medical professionals from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool to Rome’s Bambino Gesu Paediatric Hospital, which has ties to the Vatican. Alfie has even been granted Italian citizenship to ensure his safe transport and care, but Alder Hey Hospital still refuses his transfer.

The socialized healthcare system in the UK has received massive criticism for the continued denial of foreign medical treatment of British citizens. Many Catholics, including the pope, have raised concern that the current UK policy represents a denial of the basic value of human life. Tom Evans visited the Vatican to beg the pope to “save our son,” and the pope tweeted the following in reply.

This is not the first time that Britain’s Healthcare system has come under fire for this specific circumstance. Eerily familiar to the story of Alfie Evans, is that of Charlie Gard whose parents have expressed support for Alfie. Just over a year ago the public worldwide raised concerns about the restriction of the baby to have the same Mitochondrial illness treated, this time by American doctors.

Alfie’s Parents unsuccessfully appealed to the European Court of Human Rights twice and on April 23rd, doctors removed Alfie from life support, assuming the child would quickly die. 19 hours later, he was still breathing on his own, so the hospital staff allowed him to have oxygen and water.

Despite his apparent ability to live, Alfie is being refused treatment for his illness and refused transfer to a hospital that is offering treatment. Though the diagnosis is unconfirmed, doctors believe Alfie is suffering from encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, a terminal illness. To end Alfie’s suffering, doctors have suggested he be removed from ventilation and euthanized by chemical suffocation with Midazolam and Fentanyl.

As of Thursday, Alfie is still being refused transfer to Italy, so his parents have agreed to meet with hospital staff to discuss taking Alfie home to administer palliative care until he dies. Similar to the case of Charlie Gard, the hospital is continually fighting against the parents’ wishes and pushing for the child to die in the hospital.

Just when you thought the UK government couldn’t handle this any worse, Merseyside police released a statement informing the public that they would be cracking down on any social media posts criticizing the hospital or the Socialized medical policy.

This is the kind of backwards tyranny that people are concerned about when they criticize overly powerful bureaucratic bodies. The type of insanity that seems to emanate from the modern United Kingdom is absolutely unparalleled in world history and will probably require future historians multiple volumes to unravel. It’s as if the entire country has collectively lost its marbles within the span of 50 years.


Vincent Cucchiara

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