Little Alfie Evans died at 2:30 a.m. on 28 April 2018. On May 9, he would have been two years old. His death has enraged a nation, caused a tremendous amount of press and hyperbole. It displayed the differences in the UK and the US. It also put on display the differences in treatment for the elderly and for infants. Had Alfie Evans been eighty-five and suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, not a single person would have complained when his life support was terminated. But, because he was this precious little child, the world was outraged.
When Alfie was six months old, he was assessed at a clinic in Liverpool. He was found to be functioning at the level of a child a month to six weeks old. In other words, he was born with a brain so dysfunctional, it could not progress beyond that of a month old infant. A month later, on December 14, he was admitted to the hospital with a “history of coughing, high temperature, and a reported episode of rhythmic jerking of his jaw and all four limbs.” A day later he was diagnosed as suffering from infantile/epileptic spasms. In someone like Alfie, it is symptomatic of a baby with what is considered a profound organic disorder of the brain. Up to 90% of children with this disorder suffer from physical and cognitive impairments. The prognosis for these children is not good. Few live beyond the age of five. The spasms and seizures cause severe damage to the brain, itself. If a child has not shown signs of cognitive problems before these seizures, he (usually) has a better prognosis, and may go on to live a fairly normal life. But, if severe cognitive problems have been diagnosed before the onset of seizures, there is basically very little hope for these kids.
If you want my humble opinion, Alfie’s parents basically tortured him with demands and requirements for intense medical care beyond logical means. They wanted to take him to Rome, for further treatment. Even the Italians felt he should not be moved for further treatment.
“…In September 2017, Italian doctors from Bambino Gesù Hospital produced an assessment report on the possibility of transferring Alfie to Italy. According to their report on the case, they could offer prolonged ventilator support, with a surgical tracheostomy and would remove a nasogastric tube, replacing it with a gastrostomy. During assessment, Alfie suffered “epileptic seizures induced by proprioceptive stimuli“, the report warned “due to stimulations related to the transportation and flight, those seizures might induce further damage to the brain, [putting] the whole procedure of transportation at risk.”…”
This part of the story was never told. They were torturing a child who did not have the brain function to comprehend what was happening. Maybe that was good. He never knew he was being tortured. He never knew his life, had he survived, would be nothing but endless feeding and breathing tubes, and constant seizures. In February…
“…an MRI scan taken in February 2018 revealed that “[Alfie’s] brain [was] entirely beyond recovery” and that “the brain was now only able to generate seizure” with “progressive destruction of the white matter of the brain which Dr R interpreted as now appearing almost identical to water and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).”…”
In other words, the child’s brain had deteriorated to the point where it was like a worst-case scenario for the very final stages of Alzheimer’s. In other words, had Alfie Evans been eighty-five with AD, he would have been allowed to die in peace. But, his parents were determined to hope against hope. They basically made fools of themselves and the right to life crowd here in this country. The way their story was presented, it was as though the UK courts were cruel and vicious. From what I can tell, nothing could be farther from the truth. Alfie’s parents, who were grasping at disintegrating straws were the ones who were being cruel.
Absolutely nothing could be done for the child. His brain had turned to what could be described as spinal fluid. There was no way for the brain to function. If you know how Alzheimer’s works, you can understand what was going on, in a most extreme way, with the child. It was horribly tragic. But, Alfie’s parents should have been made to comprehend the fact that there was no hope for the child. They were fighting to keep a shell of a human alive when there was no real brain to function. Apparently, he was born with some very severe brain defects that were not detected until he was six months old and did not respond the way a child should have responded.
This brings us to the parents. The pictures we are shown of Alfie are of a beautiful little child. He was. But, by the time he was six months old, he was functioning like an infant a month old. Something is very wrong here. Was he born severely disabled and not diagnosed, or did something happen to cause severe brain damage. Was he born that way? Was the problem genetic? It is quite sad tragic.
If Alfie Evans had been in his eighties, there would be no uproar about terminating his life support. I don’t know if that is a commentary on end of life for the elderly or allowing children to have the same rights as adults. It is an adjustment in thinking. There are times when one uses a DNR – Do Not Resuscitate. I don’t know if you can use them for anyone under the age of 18 without a court order. It seems to me children should be allowed the same dignity as adults, in a situation like this. The child has basically been in a vegetative state most of his life. I know what I would have done.
Interestingly, the family NEVER made this about faith or religion. It was more about a pair of Millennials determined to have their own way, ignoring common sense. The situation is heart-breaking, but they refused to use any wisdom or common sense. Were they incapable of reasoning that the child would never have a functioning brain, and would only survive for a short time, or were they so brainwashed by our modern culture that they were incapable of understanding the limits of modern medical science? The latter bothers me more than the former. It has some horrific implications for life as the over-indulged generation comes to grips with reality.
What bothers me the most is their lack of empathy for their son. They were torturing the baby. They kept saying he responded to their touch, but he did not have the brain function to do so. He would have seizures when touched, as his body responded. His brain did not work. Where were those with enough wisdom to step in and explain the situation to them?
Here in the US, the right is waxing poetic about the abuses of the socialist UK medical system. The baby was kept in a vegetative state, on life support, for nearly eighteen months. In this country, that would be millions of dollars. Life support was terminated, not due to expense, but due to the fact that there was no hope for recovery. There is a difference in no hope for recovery if there is a glimpse of personality and brain function. The child had none.
Alfie Evans was a baby without a brain. He did not have the electrical responses for his brain to tell him to breath. That is what is required for the basic function of any life. It is also, as everyone knows, the end of life with Alzheimer’s. Someone should have told this to his parents, months ago. Anyone who is rational should be able to comprehend without the electrical wiring in the brain to tell his system to breath, that he could not function as living.
This brings me to something else. Here in this country, by the time Alfie would have been two months or so, if he were not showing the proper milestones for his age, a pediatrician would have caught it, had the child been given proper monthly check-ups and vaccinations. The UK has a different vaccination schedule than here in the US. We hear how negligent the system is. Was he not accessed for development before the age of six months? Did something happen to him? This leads me to ask one nasty question. Are the parents protesting too much?