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UK appeals court upholds decision to remove Alfie Evans' life support against parents' wishes

(Wikimedia Commons/Rept0n1x)Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Eaton Road, Liverpool, England.

Three judges from Britain's Court of Appeal have upheld a lower court ruling to end the life support for 21-month-old Alfie Evans against the wishes of his parents.

Alfie, the son of Catholic parents Tom Evans and Kate James, has been suffering from a mysterious neurological condition that has left him in a coma and unable to breathe on his own.

Last month, a high court judge ruled that doctors at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool can stop providing treatment, saying further attempts to treat him would harm the child's "future dignity."

The appeal court judges agreed with the high court and said that it would be in the best interest of the child for doctors to remove his life-support treatment.

One of the judges, Mrs. Justice King, noted that the latest medical evidence has indicated that the baby was "deeply comatose" and "to all intents and purposes unaware of his surroundings."

During the hearings in both Liverpool and London, the judges were told that the baby's condition was terminal and that his brain is "entirely beyond recovery," The Guardian reported. MRI scans have indicated that the disease, which doctors were unable to definitely diagnose, has destroyed 70 percent of Alfie's brain matter.

Mr. Justice Anthony Hayden had given the doctors at Alder Hey the permission to provide palliative care only for Alfie, saying he had accepted evidence that showed further treatment was "futile."

However, the parents have disputed the testimonies of the doctors, and produced a video showing an infant that was said to be much more responsive than the hospital staff had suggested.

Tom Evans and Kate James are asking the courts for the right to transfer the baby to the Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome, hoping that doctors there would be able to determine the root cause of the condition and provide additional medical interventions.

The BBC reported that the staff at Alder Hey was supposed to withdraw the life support on Feb. 23, but the parents challenged the high court decision.

King commended the determination of the parents to "fight on with Alfie's army," but noted that they had "no clear plan." She further stated that Justice Hayden had considered all the evidence and "could not have done more to ensure father and mother had every opportunity to express their views and have them taken into consideration."

Alfie's parents were not present during the hearing in London, but the father later said that he intends to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

"Some people might think why didn't they just end it there? But how can you end it when you've got a two-year-old boy who's fighting as hard as you could ever picture him. At this moment, Alfie's not ready so we're not ready to let go," he said, according to BBC.

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