Judge blocks parents from taking sick baby to Vatican hospital

John Stillwell  PA via AP

Though it "may be a forlorn hope", he added, discussions between the family and doctors may result in Alfie "being cared for, for his final days or hours, at home, or in a hospice or even on a ward, and not on the paediatric intensive care unit".

A "last-ditch appeal" in which the Italian ambassador granted Alfie citizenship of Italy in order to take him to Rome for treatment failed on Monday.

The little boy's case has become a subject of fierce concern for some Catholic and other Christian activists, who have protested outside the hospital in Liverpool where the boy is being treated.

Alfie Evans' mother and father, Kate James and Tom Evans, have stated they wish to take their ailing son to Italy however British courts have blocked their efforts.

And he criticised the "malign hand" of one of the family's advisers, law student Pavel Stroilov, who had, the court heard, been party to Mr Evans lodging a private prosecution of Alder Hey Hospital doctors, allegedly for murder. "I think it's right to give Alfie another chance", Tajani said on the sidelines of a meeting in Brussels with the president of the Italian Bishops Conference, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti.

But in a blow to Alfie's parents and their supporters dubbed Alfie's Army, Mr Justice Hayden, speaking to lawyers representing Alfie's parents and Alder Hey Hospital, suggested he has ruled out further treatment in Italy or Germany.

He has been in a "semi-vegetative state" for greater than a 12 months and is presently exclusively receiving oxygen after being taken off life assist final night time. While receiving treatment, Alfie began to have seizures, lasting from a few minutes to an hour, repeatedly and was placed on life support.

After the latest decision, Alder Hey Hospital said in a statement: "This evening the High Court again ruled that it is in Alfie's best interests to continue with the end of life care plan developed by the clinical team who have cared for him throughout".

During another three-hour hearing on Tuesday at the Family Division of the High Court sitting in Manchester, Paul Diamond, from the Christian Legal Centre representing the parents, suggested the alleged change in the position meant the court should reconsider its decision on allowing Alfie to travel overseas.

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"We are deeply concerned and outraged by the treatment and care offered to Alfie Evans", the Medical Ethics Alliance said.

Parents Tom Evans, 21, and Kate James, 20, insist recovery is possible and want to take him to the Vatican-linked Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome.

"Alfie is responsive to his parents and others and is not in terminal stages. The point is that the parents should be free", Williams said.

He also praised the hospital's "world class" care of the child.

Before the hearing, a spokeswoman from Christian Legal Centre said: "Alfie has survived much longer than the doctors predicted, lending support to the request from Alfie's parents for Alfie to be seen by medical experts in Italy".

The case has drawn global attention, including remarks from Pope Francis.

Francis has spoken repeatedly about Alfie.

The parallels of what happened in the Terri Schiavo case and what is happening with little Alfie Evans are scary indeed.

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