When “Dr. Death,” Jack Kevorkian, was peddling the “right to die” movement, many feared that the practice of killing costly or very ill patients would be expanded to those who did not wish to perish. As The Sun reported today, that is exactly what is happening in the case of 23-month old Alfie Evans and his parents, Tom Evans and Kate James in England.
For months now, the little boy had been at the “centre of a life support battle between his parents, health officials and the British justice system.” Much like the Terri Schiavo, those fighting to keep the tyke alive have found that courts have ruled that his precious life support could be pulled. Even the Pope has chimed in and sided with the unfortunate child.
A “mystery illness” put little Evans in a coma and he has been in that state for the last year. The child was born in perfect health yet by 7 months, he had missed many “milestones” of development. He also began to make “jerking, seizure-like movements” and was then taken to the hospital.
Once there, the family claims that the medical staff were all but uninterested in the boy’s case and gave the cavalier response that their son was “lazy and a late developer.”
Sadly, the small child developed a chest infection “that caused seizures and was placed on life support at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool in December 2016.” The poor child was in “a semi-vegetative state” and suffers from “a degenerative neurological condition” that doctors can not pinpoint even now.
Medical staff told the parents that their boy would not make it, but he beat the infection and began breathing on his own, proving them wrong. Somehow, the younger Evans was allowed to catch another chest infection that caused “more chronic seizures” and ended with him being placed back on a ventilator.
Doctors want to pull the plug on the child and the parents feel that this is a travesty.
The child has a form of Mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome (MDS), which is a group of disorders that lead to “a significant drop in mitochondrial DNA.” This affects breathing and the body’s production of energy. The muscles that are needed for Alfie Evan’s to live a normal life, as well as his brain and kidneys, are affected by his MDS.
While no cure exists, nucleoside bypass therapy has been found to be effective in treating the symptoms. That is what the parents wish to see happen, but they are being denied.
The parents are both in their 20’s and have been imploring the justice system to keep their child alive. This is the very reason why conservatives and libertarians are so terrified of the government getting involved in the medical system. Often, the concerns of the bottom line trump treatment.
Experimental treatments are often hampered by the government, even when the patient is dying.
The father has quoted the Bible and reminded the courts of the law, “thou shalt not kill,” as he begs for his son’s life. Evans said that the couple is “in bits, distraught, in pain” as their boy is “about to be murdered.”
“Failed disgracefully by the system. Does our son look in any of these pictures like he is dying!!!!!” charged the outraged father. “We as parents are not giving up … Our son is about to be murdered, taking [sic] away from us, his innocent life is about to be taken.”
The Pope tweeted and said, “It is my sincere hope that everything necessary may be done in order to continue compassionately accompanying little Alfie Evans and that the deep suffering of his parents may be heard. I am praying for Alfie, for his family and for all who are involved.”
With the money that the Vatican has, it seems feasible that the child could be moved and cared for there, but no mention of this has taken place.
This is where socialized medicine takes a nation and this is what happens when the cost of care becomes more valuable than human life.
No one feels this more acutely than the Evans family.