LIVERPOOL — The parents of Alfie Evans have issued a statement asking their supporters to “return back to their everyday lives” and to allow them to “build a bridge” with Alder Hey Children’s Hospital where their son has remained since December 2016 due to an undiagnosed degenerative neurological condition.
“We are very grateful and we appreciate all the support we have received from around the world,” Tom Evans read aloud to reporters on Thursday. “We would now ask you to return back to your everyday lives and allow myself, Kate and Alder Hey to form a relationship, build a bridge and walk across it.”
While specifics were not provided, he said that “[i]n Alfie’s interests we will work with his treating team on a plan that provides our boy with the dignity and comfort he needs.”
Evans thanked the hospital for their “dignity and professionalism,” and stated that the situation had placed strain on all parties involved. He asked for privacy and said that no further statements will be issued.
The statement follows unsuccessful attempts in the courts this week to allow Alfie to be transported out of the country to hospitals willing to provide alternative treatment.
As previously reported, High Court Justice Anthony Hayden again sided with the hospital on Tuesday, opining that while the child is “a fighter, resilient, courageous and a warrior,” the only assistance another hospital could provide is palliative care.
“The brain cannot regenerate itself and there is virtually nothing of his brain left,” Hayden ruled.
An appeals court upheld the decision on Wednesday.
Alfie’s parents then began to explore the option of taking their son home to receive medical care there.
“If this is how we get our son home, then please respect us,” Evans said in a Facebook post following the issuance of his statement on Thursday about building a bridge with Alder Hey. “We ask you to continue to support, but no protesting or threats, etc. toward staff.”
Protesters have been swarming Alder Hey in support of the child and his parents.
According to the latest reports, Alfie continues to breathe on his own three days after he was removed from artificial ventilation. Evans shared a photograph of his son seemingly smiling (above), noting that the while the boy has not awakened, he has not degenerated either.
“Alfie may prove you wrong all the way through this, and this could be a general misdiagnosis,” he said.
As previously reported, Alfie, who was six months old at the time, was admitted to Alder Hey in December 2016 due to a chest infection. The child was born healthy by all indications, but began exhibiting unusual jerking movements months later.
While hospitalized, Alfie struggled to breathe due to a myoclonic jerking spasm, and was placed on life support. In January 2016, it was thought that Alfie would not make it, but he overcame the infection for a time and began to improve. However, the infant had to be intubated again after contracting another infection, and has been stated to be in a semi-vegetative state.
His parents state that they still do not know specifically what is wrong with their son other than that he has a degenerative neurological condition, and disagree with the hospital that Alfie is unaware of his surroundings.
“The hospital claims that Alfie is ‘insensate’ and unaware of any stimulus or irritation, which is proven wrong in hundreds of videos, against the odds of a heavy cocktail of anti-seizure drugs with sedative effect. Daily, Alfie moves, stretches, yawns, responding to tickling and noise and cuddling,” a petition on Change.org states.
Alfie’s parents have recorded their son yawning, stretching and opening his eyes as they believe it is evidence that doctors shouldn’t give up on him yet.
However, in court proceedings, Alder Hey officials testified that they believe that Alfie’s brain is “entirely beyond recovery” and 70 percent damaged. They argued that it is in the child’s “best interests” to be withdrawn from life support.
Life support was withdrawn on Monday night after appeal efforts in the courts were unsuccessful, but Alfie has been breathing on his own ever since.