The father of a brain-damaged boy has said he will not give up despite losing a treatment fight in the High Court.
Tom Evans complained that his 21-month-old son Alfie Evans had been wrongly “sentenced to the death penalty”.
A judge on Tuesday ruled that doctors could stop providing life-support treatment to Alfie.
Mr Justice Hayden, who analysed the case in hearings at the Family Division of the High Court in Liverpool and London, said he accepted medical evidence which showed further treatment was futile.
Specialists at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool had asked the judge to rule that life-support treatment could end.
They said continuing to provide treatment was “unkind, unfair and inhumane”.
Alfie’s parents, Mr Evans and Kate James – in their 20s – wanted treatment to continue and asked for permission to take Alfie to hospitals in Europe.
Mr Evans told Mr Justice Hayden he wanted time to consider the ruling.
“The system has worked against us,” he said outside court.
“I’m not crying because I know how wrong they are, I know how strong my boy is doing. He is strong, he is comfortable.
“This isn’t the end. This is just the start.
“My son is two years of age and has been sentenced to the death penalty. That is wrong.”
Mr Evans had broken down as the judge announced his decision at a hearing in London.
Alfie’s mother had left the hearing before Mr Justice Hayden and wept outside.
Specialists had told Mr Justice Hayden that Alfie had a “progressive, ultimately fatal neurodegenerative condition” which had not been diagnosed – one doctor said it might become known as “Alfie’s disease”.
The judge said evidence showed that Alfie’s brain had been “devastated by progressive degeneration”, and he had been kept alive by a ventilator for months.
“Alfie has lost the capacity to hear, see, smell or respond to touch, other than reflexively,” he said.
“All agree that it is unsafe to discount the possibility that Alfie continues to experience pain.”
The judge said the evidence had “reluctantly and sadly” driven him to one conclusion.
“Properly analysed, Alfie’s need now is for good quality palliative care,” he said. “By this I mean care which will keep him as comfortable as possible at the last stage of his life.
“He requires peace, quiet and privacy in order that he may conclude his life, as he has lived it, with dignity.
“It was entirely right that every reasonable option should be explored for Alfie. I am now confident that this has occurred.”
He said he appreciated that his decision would be “devastating news” to Alfie’s parents.
Lawyers representing Alder Hey said doctors planned to stop providing life-support treatment on Friday.
Picture: Tom Evans, the father of 21-month-old Alfie Evans, outside the High Court in London after a judge ruled that doctors can stop providing life-support treatment to him against the parents wishes. (John Stillwell/PA Wire).