A high-profile controversy about a very sick child in England is reminiscent of the Charlie Gard case of last summer, which evoked comment from even Pope Francis.
And even though the case of Alfie Evans is medically different from that of Charlie Gard, there are similar ethical principles, said a leading bioethics organization in the U.K.
“Every human life is worthy of respect, and patients’ lives should not be targeted deliberately, although not every treatment is worth pursuing,” said the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, a national Catholic bioethics center for the UK and Ireland, in a statement. “Doctors should not be forced to continue treatment if they believe it offers little or no benefit relative to the burdens it entails, nor should they be forced to refer for specific treatments that they do not believe to be in the best interests of their patient.”
Alfie Evans is the 20-month-old son of Tom Evans and Kate James, from Bootle, Merseyside, who has a degenerative neurological condition that has not been precisely diagnosed, the BBC said.
Doctors at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital have told the High Court that continuing treatment would be “futile.”
A court on Monday heard that new MRI scans show further decline of the toddler’s brain.
A doctor treating Alfie said the boy was “unaware and in a deep coma,” according to the BBC.
But the boy’s father insists he is aware and showing improvement and wants him to be allowed to travel to a specialist hospital in Rome.
Read more at Aleteia.