Updated: Apr 27, 2018
Alfie Evans. All over the news channels. Not really fair to criticise them this time. It is a news story which most people will want to be informed about. I have to say though, for me personally it brings on a feeling of gawking into a horrible situation. I have lost a son and it generated far too much media coverage at the time. Circumstances were entirely different to those being endured by the stricken parents of Alfie. These parents need the media to enable them to get their message out to the people. They have certainly managed to do that, the case is gathering attention right across the globe. Here
As has become the way here in the UK this case has attracted "protesters", this is where problems with free speech being abused have appeared. It actually reached the shocking point where traffic was held up outside Alder Hey, and police officers had to actively prevent some of these "protesters" from "storming" the hospital main entrance.
What exactly were they going to do had they got in?
This raises one or two serious points. Firstly, what if an ambulance had been delayed? You do not need much of an imagination to figure out the potential for serious consequences. Potentially obstructing an ambulance by design gains absolutely no respect from me. Secondly, "storming" a hospital main entrance, just what exactly is that about? I worked for years in a local hospital, and can think of nothing that equals this for sheer stupidity and again, possible risks to sick people. Anyone who was there and can be identified should be arrested as soon as possible. This instance needs to be used to set a precedent and send a clear message to those who think such ridiculous actions are somehow acceptable. Here
Back to Alfie and his heartbreaking situation. We should be clear that this situation is an ongoing hell not only for him, but his stricken young parents, they are both in their twenties. God only knows what it is like for them just now, or how it has been over the many months of realising the harsh reality of it all. Alfie has been in a coma for over a year, every single one of those days will have seemed like an eternity to the parents, I absolutely do not know how they have got through it and retained such dignity and determination. I am not sure I could have done it.
They have gone through many stages of raising their hopes, and seeing crushing defeat after crushing defeat.Firstly with the medical experts, then in courts of higher and higher standing. They have been to appeal courts, the ECHR, and Dad Tom even visited the Pope. No avenue has been left not travelled. Time after time the answer has not been in their favour, yet still they cling to hope. I am no legal expert, and therefore will not give a view as to the rights and wrongs of those decisions.
What I will do though, is point out that those Drs who arrived at the awful decision to switch off life support are highly experienced and focused only on one thing, that being doing the correct thing, guided by their many years of training and harsh experience. I have worked in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and been around when such decisions were taken.
Nothing is ever left to chance, no such decision is taken without complete agreement amongst a team of such learned people. Every single member of staff who has been associated with Alfie, from Midwife, to Porter to Nurse, to Dr to Specialist will acutely feel the parents loss. It is how they are, it is why they are such superb professional people.
They often handle such situations, know full well about the devastation they are about to unleash upon those undeserving of such mental anguish. They do a brilliant job every day of their careers and are people we should be extremely proud of.
To see them described in the press as "murderers" is utterly shocking.
Let me ask the BIG question here, do we or do we not accept that it is correct for expert Drs to take decisions regarding whether a life should, under certain horrible circumstances, be ended? In answering that question to yourself, what message are you sending to those stricken parents who have given their permission to have life support turned off? Are they all in the wrong?, are they murderers?
Sadly this all becoming a circus now, websites are springing up all over the Net, crowdfunding is being set up, apparently the Alder Hay website has crashed due to "Alfies Army" wanting updates etc, it goes on and on. There is a potentially very unsavoury consequence to all of this. That being that if left unchecked this sort of "mob rule" will likely end up with those expert medical teams who take such decisions having to factor in whether or not the hospital will be besieged by "protesters". This is very probably the whole intention of those who pick up on such events, leap upon their keyboards, organise road blocking, storm hospital entrances, and underneath all of that, do not actually have a clue what they are talking about, or indeed what they are doing.
Kate, Tom and Alfie have my utmost respect, I only wish they and their legal team could go about their harrowing business without the attentions of hangers on and attention seekers. I am a bereaved parent, I just wish the Evans family all the very best of luck and hope at sometime in their lives the sun shines down upon them again.
Since I wrote the above (25th April) the following statement has been released. It is hugely demoralising that this has had to happen. I hope those responsible for causing it heed the words, I rather doubt it though.