I’d like to introduce you to Alfie Evans.
A child that had struggled with epileptic episodes, he was delayed in his developmental milestones early in his life. After having seen doctors, and having those doctors tell the Evans family that their baby was just slightly delayed, Alfie began showing irregular signs of sliding health. Over a short time, serious health issues became more frequent, and one of those seizures led to the semi-vegetative state that we find Alfie in today. Alfie was admitted to the Alder Hey children’s hospital in December of 2016. It’s stated that Alfie was diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease around the time of his admission, but the truth of the matter seems to be that the child’s condition is still unknown and undiagnosed.
The Alder Hey hospital had made the decision that further keeping Alfie alive was torture to the child. In February doctors had stated to the courts that Alfie Evans would not live long after being taken off life support. One doctor was on record as saying that without a respirator, “He won’t be able to maintain his own breathing. He may just suddenly die.” A second doctor was asked by the high court what would come of Alfie if life support was removed altogether, and the answer was he would only be able to muster a handful of breaths and survive just a few minutes if ventilation was removed.
Fast forward to Monday, April 23rd, and the high court ruled that Alfie was to be removed from life support, and that was exactly what had happened. As I write this at 9:39 pm PST on Wednesday, April 25th, Alfie Evans is still alive and breathing.
Not only was the decision made that Alfie could not be transported to the hospital in Rome, but the high court won’t even allow Alfie to leave the hospital, even if only to be brought home. The reason cited, was essentially, that the judge didn’t like the attitude of Alfie’s parents, and those who support their battle for their son.
It took 28 hours after life support being removed for the hospital to begin feeding, and hydrating Alfie again after he hadn’t passed away as was assumed.
Alfie’s family had appealed this decision, and in an attempt to help things along, a hospital in Rome, and the Pope are fighting for Alfie. The Italian government has granted Alfie citizenship in order to transfer him to their hospital and give the child care. An emergency air ambulance was waiting outside the hospital today (Wednesday, April 25th) as the court once again ruled to dismiss the appeal by Alfie’s parents to have the right to move Alfie into a hospital that will provide him care.
During this appeal, the same doctors that claimed Alfie would die quickly had now changed their tones. Stating that they had never previously asserted Alfie would have a fast death.
Lawyers representing Alfie’s family plan on attempting to get doctors from the hospital in Rome to look at Alfie, however, the possibility of this becoming a reality seems far off. Two paramedics that were aboard an air ambulance waiting to transfer Alfie, were removed from the hospital when they were found trying to communicate with Alfie’s parents. Police are also refusing to let supporters enter the hospital who are responding to a call online for individuals to attempt to provide Alfie with proper ventilation equipment.
The hospital staff has been threatened, the hospital has been stormed as protests are only becoming more intense. The leader of Poland is now speaking out as well, claiming that this child must be saved. Police duty surrounding the hospital has now been substantially increased, adding issues for other patients and family members of said patients.
And now, The British Medical Ethics Alliance, a collection of British doctors, are demanding the high court allows the release of Alfie, calling the situation “Medical tyranny.”
Local authorities have now taken to the internet, and the same legal organizations that are arresting individuals for posting rap lyrics to social media sites, have decided that legal action could be taken against those who do not speak in the way they prefer about the situation ongoing at Alder Hey.
If you’re not keeping score, there has been a significant amount of energy on behalf of the high court and the Alder Hey hospital to keep their line drawn in the sand prominent and not crossed. Subjecting hospital staff to threats, complicating medical procedures for patients and complicating situations where family members are trying to see patients that are seeking medical care. Potentially turning citizens expressing opinions online into criminals.
Arguments are being made by many in support of the high court and the Alder Hey hospital. These arguments entail explaining how Alfie is in a terminal condition, and further prolonging Alfie’s life is torture. These arguments present a path of logic that states the rights to life are not held by human beings themselves. A child’s right to life is not held and controlled by that child’s parents, but rather they are held by the state. And what of a situation when the child who had life support removed, didn’t die? The solution is to starve the child for 28 hours because somehow that’s more humane than trying to transfer him to another hospital?
This is ironic in that, so many who support socialized healthcare are the same exact people who are more than happy to claim that Donald Trump is not their president. Are these same people not then aware of the fact that should this type of system become implemented in the United States, this would put the very individual they despise with the executive power to control the life of their family? And what of the VA? We already have a socialized medical system here in the United States, one that serves only a small percentage of the population of the country, and even then, VA patients are often times dying before they are even seen by doctors. Others are subject to what has been described as the worst medical treatment they have ever experienced.
All of these arguments aside, this is just a game of semantics for the sake of playing “team sports” in support of socialized healthcare. Individuals will make an argument in support of the UK government and their medical approach, and run to another the moment that argument is dismantled. This indicates an obvious bias toward the system and the policies, and ignorance toward the very obvious ethical implications of the situation.
The truth of this matter is that if the high court would not be white-knuckling this situation as it has, all of the conflict being experienced by all involved would dissipate immediately. This situation is a clear and obvious example of what happens when the government struggles to retain control in the face of being confronted by the public for unjust and immoral laws and procedures. The tighter the UK ratchets the pressure from authorities in all aspects to attempt to engineer and maintain their utopian societal ambitions, the more divided, aggressive, and violent the people in the UK become. Instead of granting this family the right to care for their child as they wish, the care that is being offered freely by a neighboring country, whose efforts are supported by the Pope, and many other surrounding territories, they are continuing to instead point at the line in the sand as they attempt to send a message to the Evans family, and the people of the UK.
And to be clear, this is not an argument that claims the system in the United States is some amazing solution to healthcare, either. The American medical industry is in crisis, absolutely. The prices are far too high, and out of reach of so many people that need care. These monolithic prices are made possible by a myriad of methods; unethical practices to inflate prices and maximize profit by companies in the industry being made legal and supported by the US government, hospitals never showing prices up front, leaving the customer purchase decision not on which hospital gives the best quality care, for the best price, rather which insurance company is offering a premium that is realistically affordable. A crony corporatist led medical industry is not the answer any more than a socialized medical industry is.
Let this serve as a warning of what’s to come, as this isn’t even close to the first time we’ve seen this phenomenon. When legislators become convinced in their own musings of the ability to socially engineer a society of individuals into utopia via policy, regulations, and control, the result has never been a utopia. As the state grasps for power and unleashes its force to retain control of situations that only become more difficult over time, larger and larger amounts of people are made to suffer as their liberties are removed under the guise of security and safety. The curious part of the equation is that security and safety are the furthest from what has ever come of similar approaches all throughout history.