Ely minister says parents should have right to choose in row over care of toddler Alfie Evans

Keith Waters joins the debate on Alfie Evans

Keith Waters joins the debate on Alfie Evans - Credit: Archant

An Ely minister is backing a campaign to allow the parents of a seriously ill toddler to travel to Italy with him for life saving treatment in a row over whether he should continue to be kept alive by an oxygen machine..

Alfie Evans is at the centre of a row in which his life support machine was withdrawn at Alder Hey hospital this week.

Keith Waters, a minister at New Connexions Church, said: “Our society is perverse. Up to Alfie Evans’ birth, there would have been an insistence that his mother had the absolute right to choose if he’d live or die.

“Now, as she pleads he be allowed to live, they insist she has no right to choose life.

“My concern is that it feels like a state take-over of parental rights, of parental choice.””

The plea came from the Evangelical church minister on Twitter following a call to his congregation to pray for the family of Alfie Evans and his parents, Tom Evans and Kate James, of Liverpool.

Alfie was born in Merseyside in May 2016.

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He was first admitted to Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool at seven months old suffering seizures. He has been a patient there ever since.

Doctors diagnosed a degenerative neurological condition which they have not been able to identify for certain.

Alfie’s parents and the hospital have clashed over what should happen to the toddler, who has been in a semi-vegetative state for more than a year.

His parents wanted to fly him to a hospital in Italy but this was blocked by Alder Hey, which said continuing treatment was “not in Alfie’s best interests”.

Alfie survived the withdrawal of life support this week and breathed independently for six hours, renewing hope for further treatment.

Hospital staff eventually gave into requests, providing some hydration and oxygen support.

An emergency High Court hearing is asking for the freedom for Alfie to receive continued treatment in Italy.

Keith backs pleas for people to pray that Alfie continues to breathe well and that he be allowed travel to Italy for further care and treatment.

The Italian government has granted Italian citizenship to Alfie so a hospital there can intervene to save the boy’s life.

Alfie has survived much longer than the doctors predicted, and this supports the requests by Alfie’s parents for him to be seen by medical experts in Italy.