Pope 'deeply moved' by death of British toddler

Cheryl Sanders
April 29, 2018

Just hours after terminally ill British toddler Alfie Evans died overnight, his supporters gathered in Springfield Park adjacent to the hospital where he had been since December 2016.

Alfie's parents fought to take him to a hospital in Italy, where he would be kept on life support. "Thank you everyone for all your support", Kate James, Alfie Evans' mother, shared on Facebook.

"This evening the High Court again ruled that it is in Alfie's best interests to continue with the end of life care plan developed by the clinical team who have cared for him throughout", reads a statement published by the hospital on April 24.

"My gladiator lay down his shield and gained his wings at 02:30", Evans, 21, wrote in a Facebook post decorated with a broken heart and crying emojis.

In this April 23, 2018 handout photo provided by Alfies Army Official, brain-damaged toddler Alfie Evans cuddles his mother Kate James at Alder Hey Hospital, Liverpool, England.

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Alfie's case received much attention outside Britain, especially in Catholic countries.

Doctors overseeing his care said further treatment was futile and he should be allowed to die.

When the court did not rule in their favor, the parents appealed the decision, and after that appeal was lost, the case was referred to the Supreme Court.

The case drew global support including from Pope Francis, who asked that "their desire to seek new forms of treatment may be granted".

Pope Francis tweeted he was "deeply moved" to learn Alfie had died. "Today I pray especially for his parents, as God the Father receives him in his tender embrace", wrote the pontiff, who met the child's father Thomas Evans in the Vatican last week.

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Italy granted Alfie citizenship and put a military plane on standby to transport him to Rome, if the courts allowed it.

"I am deeply moved by the death of little Alfie". On Thursday, however, he thanked the family's supporters but asked them to go home so the parents could build a relationship with the hospital to provide the toddler "with the dignity and comfort he needs".

The couple heavily criticised medical staff, with Mr Evans suggesting his son was a "prisoner" at the hospital and had been misdiagnosed.

A statement from Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool, where Alfie was treated, said staff expressed their "heartfelt sympathy", reports the BBC.

The incident itself has caused incredible amounts of public outrage and campaigning for better treatment, with the hospital staff reportedly shocked after countless acts of abuse towards them. "We also wish to thank Alder Hey staff at every level of their dignity and professionalism during what must have been an incredibly hard time for them too".

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