When the death certificate for Alfie Evans is issued, under “cause of death” it ought to say this: pride. The pride of a judge who did not want his judgment questioned. The pride of doctors who did not want to be proven wrong. The pride of a government that claims authority over life and death. “Tyranny” and “unconscionable evil” could also be cited.
The last several hours in the Alfie Evans story have been dramatic and ultimately appalling. The young boy, who suffers from a mysterious brain condition, was removed from the ventilator at Alder Hey hospital in London. The hospital has decreed that the boy’s life is no longer worth living and so he must die. The parents argue that there is still hope, and they want to take him to a hospital in Italy where further treatment has been offered. The doctors at Alder Hey hospital, however, won the right to kill their son. Last night, they began his execution.
But Alfie defied them again. He continued to breathe on his own, without assistance, for several hours. Eventually the doctors, who were flummoxed by this, agreed to give the boy water but not food. If they could not suffocate him, they would starve him instead. Meanwhile, an air ambulance from Italy waited outside the hospital ready to bring the boy, who was also granted Italian citizenship, to their country for treatment. A small army of police were stationed by the boy’s room to prevent this from happening.
Finally, Alfie’s parents were granted one last hearing with a judge, hoping he would locate enough of a human conscience within himself to allow them to put their boy on the helicopter and bring him to a place that had offered to give him medical care. But he has not even the remnant of a conscience. Their request was denied. The boy must die. This is his “final chapter,” says the judge.
There is no way to justify this. It is explicitly, unabashedly evil. A hospital is holding a child hostage against the will of his parents, and the courts are barring the family from boarding a helicopter and leaving the country. This is kidnapping and murder. And we should be very clear about the motivations of the villains in this story. What lies behind their actions is pride. Simple, disgusting, murderous pride.
The judge has made himself into a god who gets to write the final chapter in a young boy’s life. The doctors who are fighting for the right to kill him have also made themselves lords over life and death. And both parties in this unholy alliance would rather see the boy die a slow and agonizing death than risk him going to some other country and further embarrassing them by showing signs of improvement. That is why they are killing Alfie Evans. And may God have mercy on them for it.