09:20, April 23 303 0 theguardian.com

2018-04-23 09:20:05
Alfie Evans: protesters try to storm hospital after court decision

Protesters supporting the parents of a 23-month-old boy at the centre of a life-support treatment battle have attempted to storm a children’s hospital in Liverpool, after the European court of human rights refused to intervene in the case.

Tom Evans and Kate James, who are in their early 20s and from Liverpool, appealed to the ECHR after failing on Friday to persuade supreme court justices to consider their case.

The couple are fighting to take their son, Alfie, to a hospital in Rome for treatment, but doctors in the UK have argued that life support should be withdrawn for the boy, who has a rare degenerative brain disease.

Approximately 200 supporters had gathered outside Alder Hey hospital on Monday afternoon and police scrambled to block the doors as a group of around a dozen attempted to enter the building. The demonstrators temporarily blocked the road and were chanting: “Save Alfie Evans.”

A ECHR spokesman said on Monday: “The European court of human rights has rejected the application submitted by the family of Alfie Evans as inadmissible.”

The couple have lost cases in the high court, court of appeal, supreme court and European court of human rights. Judges have concluded that the child was in a semi-vegetative state and further treatment would be futile.

On Friday, three supreme court justices agreed with Alfie’s doctors, saying “there is no hope of him getting better”.

In a statement, the judges said there was no reason for further delay to withdrawing life support, adding: “The hospital must be free to do what has been determined to be in Alfie’s best interests.

“Alfie looks like a normal baby, but the unanimous opinion of the doctors who have examined him and the scans of his brain is that almost all of his brain has been destroyed.

“No one knows why. But that it has happened and is continuing to happen cannot be denied. It means that Alfie cannot breathe, or eat, or drink without sophisticated medical treatment. It also means that there is no hope of his ever getting better.”

The toddler has been seriously ill since having a seizure in December 2016.

Alfie’s father responded to Friday’s ruling on Facebook, saying his son was not in pain and was not suffering. After the ECHR ruling on Monday he posted intermittent live video on Facebook, and the sound of people shouting support for the couple could be heard in the background.