Alfie Evans, the British boy who suffered from a rare degenerative brain condition and was at the center of a protracted legal fight, died at a childrens hospital in Liverpool, five days after he was taken off life support.
“My gladiator lay down his shield and gained his wings … absolutely heartbroken,” the boys father, Thomas Evans, wrote in a Facebook post on Saturday.
Alfies life support was withdrawn Monday after his parents lost legal challenges against a High Court ruling allowing the hospital to withdraw ventilation.
Brain scans showed that almost of all of the 23-month-old boys brain had been destroyed, and judges ultimately agreed with doctors assessment that there was no hope for recovery. The hospital considered further treatment to be “futile” as well as “unkind and inhumane.”
Born in May 2016, Alfie was admitted to hospital in December of that year after suffering seizures and had been in a semi-vegetative state for more than a year.
The case exposed diverging views in Europes approach to terminal conditions, with the Vatican and Polish governments rallying around the Evans family.
“This case is yet another proof that the civilization of death is starting to win,” former Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło said in a TV interview on Thursday. “If Europe doesnt go back to its roots and values, there will probably be more and more of such cases.”
The boys father on Thursday thanked supporters of Alfies case but asked them to “go home” so the family could work with the hospital on a plan “that provides our boy with the dignity and comfort he needs.”
Pope Francis reacted to the news of Alfies death Saturday, tweeting: “I am deeply moved by the death of little Alfie. Today I pray especially for his parents, as God the Father receives him in his tender embrace.”
I am deeply moved by the death of little Alfie. Today I pray especially for his parents, as God the Father receives him in his tender embrace.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) April 28, 2018