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Friday, April 27, 2018

Myths About Alfie Evans

Myth 1: The doctors all thought Alfie would die as soon as he was taken off the ventilator. 

No, the doctors did not all think he would die immediately after being taken off the ventilator. There was a lot of professional disagreement about how long he would last, but that is common among medical professionals. 

Alfie had been removed from the ventilator three different times over the last year, lasting at one point 13 days before the doctors put him back on the ventilator. This is the fourth time the ventilator has been removed. The idea that the doctors all expected immediate death is an absurd lie promoted by ignorant and/or malicious Catholic pundits to drum up clicks from angry Catholics. 

Myth 2: The hospital was going to refuse Alfie palliative care:

The hospital was not going to refuse him palliative care. Remember, Alfie went into hospital as a result of an infection and failure to thrive in December 2016. He's been in hospital ever since, on a ventilator since at least July 2017, and receiving palliative care the entire time. The hospital has been giving Alfie palliative care every day for the last year. That's why he's still alive - the hospital kept him alive. 

Hours after being removed from the ventilator, Alfie's own father publicly said:
"Alfie’s receiving food, water, oxygen as well as all the standard drugs for his belly."
For a period of about six hours after he was taken off the vent, no food or water was given. But that was due in part to the fact that nutrition and hydration have been delivered by a nasal tube directly into the small intestines. Alfie can't eat. He doesn't have enough muscle tone to swallow his own saliva.

Six hours is not a long time to go without food or water. After removal, there may well have been some disagreement about exactly whether Alfie was actively dying, whether it was worthwhile to reinsert the nasal tube if he was actively dying or whether that would simply disturb the parents' last hour(s) with their dying child, etc.

Once it became clear that Alfie was not giving up, the food and water were given to help him fight.

Myth 3: Socialized medicine is taking away parental rights

No one has taken away anyone's parental rights. The parents still have full custody of Alfie. It's just that no one, anywhere - not even the Catholic Church - has ever said parental rights are absolute. Everyone agrees the state can exert its own authority when danger to a citizen, in this case, a child, is perceived. 

Right now, what the state conceives as its duty to care for its citizens is not in harmony with what the parents conceive as their duty to care for their child. The rights of the two actors are not in harmony, but the both the parents and the state are trying to get them back into harmony - that's what the court cases have been about.

And, incidentally, Italy's medicine is just as socialized as Britain's, so if you want to use Britain's example is an argument against socialized medicine, you may want to reconsider your premises.

Myth 4: Transport to Bambino Gesu hospital offers hope!

Bambino Gesu hospital does not offer hope, and its own doctors state that they do not offer hope. 

As the British judge points out, it was the Italian doctors sent by the Pope from Bambino Gesu who expressed concern that Alfie would die during transport due to constant seizures. It was on the basis of the Italian doctors' professional medical testimony that the British judge nixed travel. The British judge didn't want to risk killing Alfie by attempting transport. 

The Italians stated that they would only be offering palliative care. The only difference between the English and Italian care was the addition of a tracheotomy by the Italians. All the Italian doctors offer is palliative care. British palliative care is essentially indistinguishable from Italian palliative care. Why would anyone risk killing Alfie in transport just so he can get exactly the same care he is already getting?

Myth 5: The judge is an anti-Catholic LGBT supporter who is trying to kill a Catholic child and destroy a Catholic family!

Read the judge's summary and judgement. While the judge may be an LGBT supporter, he is decidedly not anti-Catholic, anymore than the openly gay Milo Yiannopoulos is anti-Catholic. In fact, in his ruling, the British judge extensively quoted from a papal address to the Pontifical Academy for Life and followed by saying, "I regard the above as a comprehensive answer..."

Myth 6: The Pope has said the boy should be transported! The authorities are deliberately disrespecting the Pope! 

Pope Francis' wishes were scrupulously obeyed by the hospital. Pope Francis said, "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.”

Every medical professional the parents asked for has had access to Alfie for personal medical examination and examination of all of Alfie's records. Every medical professional has said the same thing, "Your child is dying. There is no treatment, only palliative care."  The parents desired to seek for new treatment, they brought in doctors to identify the new treatment, and they found out that no one has any new treatment. No one. 

No one.

Not a single doctor who has examined Alfie and read through Alfie's complete medical history has held out hope even for a halt to the progressive degeneration, much less a reversal. Every single medical professional has said the same thing: the only thing left is palliative care. There is no known treatment for Alfie's condition, not even experimental.

Barring a Lourde's style miracle, Alfie will never get better.
Every medical professional expects Alfie's condition to continue to deteriorate.

Myth 7: He could be treated at home. He didn't need to be in a hospital at all.

Well, his parents didn't feel that way. As the Italian doctors and Alfie's own physiotherapist testified, the boy has been undergoing constant seizures for the last several months. In his summary, the judge outlined all the different drug regimens that had been tried: none controlled the seizures. The parents wanted him in hospital for the whole of his treatment because they didn't feel they could handle the seizures. 

Myth 8: The hospital and the British government are acting SATANICALLY!

Alfie's own father testified on numerous occasions throughout his court appearances and again in a signed, public statement, that he had the highest regard and gratitude for the professionalism of the hospital. If you read the judge's ruling, in which all of the history is summarized, it is obvious the judge is trying very hard to do the right thing by Alfie and his parents. The judge didn't remove parental rights, he didn't remove custody, he spent the entire opinion trying to reconcile sometimes divergent testimony into a coherent whole that both the parents and the hospital could accept.

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