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Alfie Evans - Judge rules that life support can be withdrawn.

(33 Posts)
phoenix Tue 20-Feb-18 19:19:02

Evening all, sad those this news is, and I can understand the reaction of the parents, I would be interested in hearing your thoughts.

(I will share mine later)

phoenix Tue 20-Feb-18 19:20:04

Damn auto correct ALFIE Evans

Bridgeit Tue 20-Feb-18 19:31:25

I think this topic is just too current, raw & personal to be bandied about on GN, for us to pontificate about the do’s & don’ts.

Jane10 Tue 20-Feb-18 19:45:50

I agree. It's too sad and too soon. sad

Bibbity Tue 20-Feb-18 21:01:07

My heart teaks for the parents. I can't imagine the agony they are experiencing. And I understand why they would explore and fight to save their child.

But I agree with the ruling.

Deedaa Tue 20-Feb-18 21:05:28

This is a situation none of us would ever want to be in. I heard someone saying "Where there's life there's hope" but that surely depends on the quality of life. Would they say the same about a terminal cancer patient who had been reduced to the same condition?

MissAdventure Tue 20-Feb-18 21:09:30

I think sometimes you have to accept that life doesn't mean hope, as much as you want it to..

lemongrove Tue 20-Feb-18 21:59:41

In all these kind of situations I think that the doctors know best.Life, at any cost is not always worth it.Heart breaking for the parents, but sometimes you have to let go.

Luckygirl Tue 20-Feb-18 22:03:12

What is really needed is for the media to butt right out as it will just fuel and prolong the agony.

That poor father talking to camera about a "death sentence" will become locked in this stance after pronouncing this to the media - it simply cannot help in what is a tragic situation.

Grandma70s Tue 20-Feb-18 22:04:40

I can see that the parents feel the raw, almost primitive need to preserve the life of their child at whatever cost. Understandable, but irrational, and I too agree with the ruling. I do not envy the person who had to make the decision.

M0nica Tue 20-Feb-18 23:06:45

Cases like this provide one of the great moral crises of our age. Medical machinery and drugs can keep adults and children physically ticking over who in the past would have died very quickly because living with the condition they have is impossible.

I too heard the father's anguished response and another demonstrator say 'where there is life there is hope'. But life itself by definition is a death sentence and the saying of the demonstrator can only apply in very limited circumstances - and this is not one of them.

This child, as in most other similar cases, has severe irrecoverable brain damage, he is living only because machinery attached to him makes everything work. Take that away and his true state will be shown. Effectively he has already died and is being kept in a state of suspended animation .

I have the deepest sympathy for his parents. My parents had to make the decision to turn off the life support attached to my sister after she suffered severe brain injuries in a car accident.

When you see someone on life support after they have died (we were donating organs so she was kept on the system for 2 days after her death) they do indeed look as if they are still alive, blood being pumped round their body means their skin keeps its natural colour and their skin is warm. Their chest moves as if breathing naturally, but it is actually a machine. My sister looked absolutely natural, just deeply asleep, but likely to awake any moment. It was very difficult to realise that she was dead.

I can so understand that the parents of a young child look at their child, still living, but only because a machine has taken over, cannot bear to stop that living, but sadly, they are looking at the living dead.

Sorry if my descriptions of someone on life support distresses anyone.

Grandma70s Wed 21-Feb-18 06:06:18

Excellent post, M0nica. The child is not really alive. His breathing is artificial.

BlueBelle Wed 21-Feb-18 06:30:41

I agree just because we can keep a life going doesn’t mean we should, it must be the worst thing in the world watching your baby and knowing you have to let them go and your brain just won’t process the fact that they are actually already gone
Your description of your personal experience really brings it home Monica
Unfortunately I think this will happen more and more as machines take over
Poor people poor baby

Christinefrance Wed 21-Feb-18 08:46:32

I agree with MOnica and BlueBelle but I can understand the heartbreak of the parents and how they want to save their son.

B9exchange Tue 24-Apr-18 10:05:18

Alfie has been off the ventilator since before midnight last night. It is hard to get the true picture, but it seems after initial reluctance the hospital are giving him oxygen and water. Who knows what will happen next, but what his parents are going through cannot be imagined.

annsixty Tue 24-Apr-18 10:38:43

The saying " just because we can doesn't mean we should " is never truer than in this case.

Panache Tue 24-Apr-18 11:58:53

Utterly heartbreaking and one`s heart bleeds for the poor parents and the nightmare they face.
With such advances in health technology, this situation is one we shall see far too often,yet so few real answers .....if any...........just searing heartache for those within that suffering circle.

Caledonai14 Tue 24-Apr-18 12:33:19

I want to thank MOnica for her sensitive and comforting post.

There are two things I really don't understand in this situation. The first is why the parents were not allowed to transfer Alfie to the hospital in Italy. At the very least, the UK medics could have asked whether someone from the Italian hospital could come in person to assess his situation - and whether he could be moved safely. This might have helped the parents accept the decisions of the British doctors, or their ability to make their own minds up about whether to go ahead and have their son transferred.

The second thing I don't understand is why there are people who think protesting outside a hospital, in the way they have been doing, is acceptable. When you think of the long hours, distress and strain on sick patients, worried visitors and many staff, it beggars belief that they are subjected to anything other than calm, reassuring normality on the way into or out of any hospital.

B9exchange Tue 24-Apr-18 13:06:23

According to Twitter there was a representative from the Italian hospital at Alder Hey last night, but it made no difference.
There is a new hearing scheduled for today for around 3.30pm, but I can't see the British courts suddenly changing their minds. He is still a British citizen, even if he now has dual nationality. If he can survive this long without a ventilator when the courts decision on medical advice was that he would not last more than a few minutes, someone has got something wrong. It is up to Alfie now.

goldengirl Tue 24-Apr-18 16:56:52

Personally I think any action taken should be in the best interests of the child however painful it is for the parents. They naturally want their baby at all costs - but it is at a great cost; perhaps more than they can currently comprehend. It's dreadfully sad and it's awful that it's played out in front of the media. I really feel for those parents.

adaunas Wed 25-Apr-18 18:41:22

I am so glad I’m not in the parents’ position. They have my deepest sympathy for the prospect of losing their son, but as someone on here has pointed out, the prospect of what sort of life they are probably condemning him might be something they need to consider.
The impact on and the resulting needs of Alfie and his parents as he moves from being a helpless baby to a helpless adult are not a reason for ending the life of a handicapped child, but with the prognosis here, should be considered.

Behaviour outside the hospital is disgraceful. The noise brigade should be ashamed of themselves for the fear they have brought to staff and the misery they have caused other sick children and their parents. Would they have made that noise if Alfie and his parents had been in a ward affected by the disturbance?
Sadly, if the parents affected by the noise and disturbance, asked for support, the protesters would probably be happy to jump up and down and wave placards for them.

The latest proposal of suing doctors for murder is incredible. I suppose the next thing will be books/films about it.

B9exchange Sat 28-Apr-18 13:27:57

RIP Alphie. I do think the hospital could have managed things better, warning the parents that he might not die within minutes of having his ventilator removed, thus giving false home. Surely they could have been allowed to take him home or to a hospice once it became clear he was going to survive on his own for a while. I was concerned by the very sudden complete change in his father after meeting with the hospital chiefs to ask if his som could come home. it was as though pressure had been applied.

I know the hospital staff did a fantastic job under very difficult circumstances, but I do hope they will at least hold an internal inquiry over how they handled the parents.

Iam64 Mon 30-Apr-18 09:31:12

Where is the evidence that the hospital didn't warn the parents their child "may not die within minutes of the ventilator being removed, thus giving false hope"

Why is an "internal inquiry over how they handled the parents" needed. My concern is about the way these parents were misinformed by people with an axe to grind, who seemed to have no understanding of the legal and ethical difficulties. The parents were led to believe the medical staff wanted to end their baby's life with a lethal injection. Steven Wolf, who I think is a journalist, was campaigning for Alfie's law which would leave children without independent representation when medical staff and parents disagree. The cases where such disagreement occur are very rare.
If it had been possible for Alfie to go home to die, that would have happened. Any pressure on the parents seemed to come from the professional pro life people.

MawBroon Mon 30-Apr-18 10:23:14

All sorts of uninformed accusations here B9exchange , all those “surelys” for a start.
From my experience there is no cast iron way of knowing for certain how any patient will respond after extubation, so no “false hopes” there.
You are simply guessing that “pressure had been applied” - on what basis?
I am very saddened by this couple’s tragic loss but also very angry at the bandwagon which seemed to develop its own momentum and I think it is not only irresponsible but also destructive of these poor people’s future healing process to go throwing uneducated accusations around.
What Iam64 reports about the misinformation fed to the parents by the press is unforgivable and downright criminal.
(And how are is it to spell the poor child's name right?
Alfie not “Alphie” )

MawBroon Mon 30-Apr-18 11:01:13

“How hard.....”