Alfie Evans dies after withdrawal of life support

The 23-month-old baby with a rare degenerative brain disease, who was at the centre of a protracted legal battle, died nearly a week after life support was withdrawn

Alfie Evans
Alfie Evans

Alfie Evans, a 23-month-old baby with a rare degenerative brain disease, who was at the centre of a protracted legal battle, has died nearly a week after his life support was withdrawn.

The boy from Merseyside, died at Alder Hey children’s hospital at 02:30 BST, his father Tom Evans said.

On Facebook he wrote: "My gladiator lay down his shield and gained his wings... absolutely heartbroken."

Alfie's parents lost legal challenges against a High Court ruling allowing the hospital to withdraw ventilation.

Life support was withdrawn on Monday after a last-ditch appeal to the high court was turned down.

He has been in a semi-vegetative state for more than a year and scans of his brain had shown that almost all of it had been destroyed.

Who was Alfie Evans?

Evans and Alfie's mother Kate James's legal campaign attracted widespread media attention and saw them clash with doctors over the child's treatment.

Alfie, who was born in May 2016, was first admitted to Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool the following December after suffering seizures, and had been a patient at the hospital ever since.

The parents, who lived in Bootle, wanted to fly the toddler to a hospital in Italy for treatment, but this was rejected by doctors who said continuing treatment was "not in Alfie's best interests".

The hospital said scans showed "catastrophic degradation of his brain tissue" and that further treatment was not only "futile" but also "unkind and inhumane".

The court battle between the parents and medical staff lasted for four months.

The couple heavily criticised medical staff, with Evans suggesting his son was a "prisoner" at the hospital and had been misdiagnosed.

Evans said on Thursday that their lives had been “turned upside down” by the intense focus his case had received in Britain and around the world.

“Our little family along with Alder Hey has become the centre of attention for many people around the world and it has meant we have not been able to live our lives as we would like,” he said.

The High Court ruled in favour of hospital bosses on 20 February, after accepting medical evidence that there was "no hope" for the youngster.

Alfie's case brought swathes of international support including from Pope Francis, who tweeted support for the family and asked that "their desire to seek new forms of treatment may be granted".

Alfie was even granted Italian citizenship on Monday, with the country's ministry of foreign affairs saying it hoped the ill toddler would be allowed an "immediate transfer to Italy".

This, however, did not happen, as a further appeal against the order stopping them from taking him to Italy

More in World