The parents of Alfie Evans plan to meet with his doctors on Thursday to discuss bringing the terminally ill boy home. The latest development comes after The Court of Appeal upheld a ruling on Wednesday that prevented Tom Evans and Kate James from bringing their 23-month-old son to Rome for more treatment.
“We got rejected yesterday to go to Italy unfortunately,” Evans said outsider Alder Hey hospital, where Alfie has been since December 2016. “We could take it further but would that be the right thing to do, would there be more criticism? So what we do today is we have a meeting with the doctors at Alder Hey and we now start asking to go home.”
Alfie is facing an incurable degenerative neurological condition, and doctors say there is nothing else they can do for the toddler. His life support was withdrawn Monday after a series of court rulings blocked further treatment.
The case has sparked a months-long court battle between the toddler's parents and the hospital, with leaders from around Europe weighing in. In a bid to ease transferring the boy to Rome, Italy granted the boy citizenship on April 23, but the court upheld it's previous rulings. Pope Francis tweeted about the case and met with Evans to discuss the boy.
"Moved by the prayers and immense solidarity shown little Alfie Evans, I renew my appeal that the suffering of his parents may be heard and that their desire to seek new forms of treatment may be granted," Pope Francis tweeted on April 23.
But a statement from the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales sided with the doctors in the case.
"We affirm our conviction that all those who are and have been taking the agonising decisions regarding the care of Alfie Evans act with integrity and for Alfie’s good as they see it," the statement read, in part. "The professionalism and care for severely ill children shown at Alder Hey Hospital is to be recognized and affirmed. We know that recently reported public criticism of their work is unfounded as our chaplaincy care for the staff, and indeed offered to the family, has been consistently provided."
The Catholic Association then released a statement on Thursday criticizing Catholic leadership in the U.K. for siding with the courts.
"It is confusing and disappointing to see the Catholic leadership in the U.K., both the bishops and lay leaders like Austen Ivereigh of Catholic Voices U.K., abandon Catholic social teaching and split from the Pope by defending the government instead of Alife and his family," that statement said, in part. "The Church has long been the first and only voice to speak out for truth and defend the vulnerable. True to that legacy, the Pople spoke out in defense of Alfie Evans and the fundamental human rights of his parents to do all they can to save the life of their child."
Evans said that he will head back to court if Thursday's meeting does not go well.