Saturday, April 28, 2018

On The Wrenchingly Tragic Life And Death Of Alfie Evans


The wrenchingly tragic story of the life and death of Alfie Evans, of which I’ve made no deep study.

So a few first instance impressions.

I’m finding it hard to understand the denial of the parents’ request to take Alfie to Italy for further treatment and care, keeping him on life support. 

I can understand a medical decision to take him off life support, although that’s obviously a tough one. 

And I understand qua their children, parents’ wishes, often religiously based, are not always paramount. This is especially so when conventional medicine offers life saving and parents out of conviction want to deny that offer. 

I can understand too an institutional decision not to prolong in incurable suffering and respecting mentally able adults’ decisions to end their lives. 

But how to measure the suffering of this child, who fought on, his little body buoyed by his physical adjacency to his mother’s body and by what unaided help his father could give him? 

How to deny his parents wanting to take him somewhere else, Italy, to see, hope against hope, what could be done for him and at least to keep him on life support?

Likely, very, very likely, what was on Italy’s medical offer meant only slim to none hope; still, how is the rejection of that life affirming offer ultimately justifiable? 

How to justify quitting what chance there was, and in the absence of success keeping Alfie alive for as long as possible? 

I can see, as I say, overriding parents’ wishes when those wishes mean certain death for their child—(say) Jehovah Witnesses denying blood transfusions for their children—but when the opposite is the case, when institutional denial means certain and quick death over life, I can’t see it even as I understand the argument from suffering. 

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