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Parents of seriously ill toddler ask court again to let Alfie travel for treatment

Tom Evans outside Liverpool's Alder Hey Children's Hospital where his 23-month-old son, Alfie, has been at the centre of a life-support treatment fight PICTURE: Peter Byrne/PA

THE parents of a 23-month-old boy who has been at the centre of a life-support treatment battle have again asked a High Court judge to let the youngster travel to an Italian hospital, a campaign group helping the couple says.

The hearing involving Alfie Evans before Mr Justice Hayden at the Family Division of the High Court in Manchester has been delayed. The hearing scheduled to start at 3.30pm was delayed until around 4pm.

A spokeswoman for the Christian Legal Centre, which is assisting Tom Evans and Kate James, said the judge would be asked to allow medical experts in Italy to examine Alfie.

She said medics at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool had stopped providing "ventilation support" to Alfie shortly after 9pm on Monday.

But she said Alfie continued to breathe independently.

"Alfie has survived much longer than the doctors predicted, lending support to the request from Alfie's parents for Alfie to be seen by medical experts in Italy," she said.

"An air ambulance is now waiting outside Alder Hey Hospital ready to take Alfie to hospital in Italy."

She said a barrister representing Alfie's parents, who are both in their 20s and from Liverpool, would argue that it could not be in Alfie's best interests to be "left to die in Alder Hey".

The spokeswoman added: "He will argue that Alfie should be allowed to travel to Italy where doctors are ready to care for him."

Alfie's parents have lost two rounds of court fights. Judges have heard that Alfie, born on May 9 2016, is in a "semi-vegetative state" and has a degenerative neurological condition that doctors have not definitively diagnosed.

Specialists say his brain has been "eroded".

In February Mr Justice Hayden had ruled that doctors at Alder Hey could stop treating Alfie against the wishes of his parents following hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London and Liverpool.

Specialists at Alder Hey said life-support treatment should stop and Mr Justice Hayden said he accepted medical evidence, which showed that further treatment was futile.

He said flying Alfie to a foreign hospital would be wrong and pointless.

Court of Appeal judges upheld his decisions. Supreme Court justices and European Court of Human Rights judges refused to intervene.

The couple then argued Alfie was being wrongly "detained" at Alder Hey.

Mr Justice Hayden dismissed that application. Appeal judges upheld Mr Justice Hayden's decision.

On Friday, Supreme Court justices said they would not intervene. On Monday, EHCR judges also refused to intervene.

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