By Judie Brown
In Alfie Evans’ final days, people of conscience around the world strove to defend his right to live and his parents’ right to be the decision makers regarding his care. Yes, we knew that he had a degenerative brain disease, but we also knew then, just as we know now, that he was a human being—a little boy with a soul who was created by God and who has now joined his Heavenly Father.
Alfie’s death was not a shock to anyone, but the manner in which his death was caused should send shock waves around the collective world as we witness, once again, parental rights and the right to life sucked into the culture of death’s funnel of despicable inhumane acts. In this case, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital’s doctors deemed that there was “no possibility of recovery.” These medical practitioners wanted to turn the ventilator off almost 10 months ago!
Lest we overlook something else about this tragic case, I call to your attention the fact that, in the midst of the horrific evolution of events, Catholic archbishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, said last month that hospital officials were trying to prevent “overzealous treatment” of Alfie and that the conflict between parents and the hospital was nearing a “dead-end.”
Such statements are not only subjective but are downright appalling.
Paglia’s comments reveal a tendency to embrace the sort of palliative care mindset that takes palliation out of the realm of providing comfort to the suffering and into the realm of weapons of direct killing. It is a slippery slope, indeed. And cases like Alfie’s prove just how devious it can get.
Let’s take a moment to consider this.
To palliate is to make the patient comfortable. In this case, the very use of Alfie’s ventilator became a topic of debate. But Father Roberto Colombo, a member of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery at the Catholic University in Rome, said about the ventilator that was helping Alfie breathe: “Ventilation is provided to take care of him (his life) until his death occurs, soon or later, as a consequence of his disease.”
Furthermore, Professor Charles Camosy wrote in a very revealing article: “It may also be the case that the drugs in Alfie’s system have suppressed thalamic connections in the brain, thus giving the false impression that much of his brain is gone.”
Note the use of the word false.
Could the diagnosis have been wrong in the beginning? And whether or not this was the case, why would Paglia not insist on protecting and preserving Alfie’s life until God decided to call him home?
I have to agree with Camosy, who also wrote prior to Alfie’s death: “Alfie Evans’s death is being aimed by the very people whose vocation it is to help and protect him. The difference in Alfie’s case is that, because he has continued to breathe, the pretense of ‘removal of burdensome treatment’ is patently absurd. In a situation that was no doubt distressing to those who hoped he would die, Alfie’s continuing to breathe has clarified the true object of the act of removing his ventilator.”
Indeed, take the ventilator away and Alfie dies.
I wonder why Paglia didn’t consult with Camosy and Colombo before opining about a mythical dead end. He could have been Alfie’s champion instead of pandering to the status quo. The archbishop failed both Alfie and his parents.
See below for background about how palliative care is weaponized as well as previous articles about Alfie:
“Palliative Care: The Real Story” by Elizbeth Wickham, PhD
“The Alfie Evans Tragedy Bodes Badly for Mankind” by Judie Brown
“How to Talk about Alfie Evans with Teens” by the Culture of Life Studies Program team