The parents of a seriously ill little boy have lost a life support treatment fight with doctors.
Specialists at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool had asked a High Court judge to allow them to stop providing life support treatment to 21-month-old Alfie Evans.
Alfie’s parents Kate James and Tom Evans, who are both in their 20s, wanted treatment to continue.
Mr Justice Hayden said he accepted medical evidence which showed further treatment was futile, adding that he had reached his conclusion with great sadness.
“Alfie’s need now is for good quality palliative care.
“He requires peace, quiet and privacy in order that he may conclude his life ad he has lived it, with dignity,” he said.
He paid tribute to Alfie’s parents and to doctors and nurses at Alder Hey.
Alfie’s mother left the court hearing before Mr Justice Hayden reached his conclusion and his father broke down as the decision was announced.
The judge had previously heard that Alfie, who was born on May 9 2016, was in a “semi-vegetative state” and had a degenerative neurological condition doctors had not definitively diagnosed.
Doctors said continuing to provide life support treatment was “unkind, unfair and inhumane”.
Alfie’s parents believe that he responds to them.
The judge had visited Alfie in hospital and has praised his parents and said they had tried to explore every avenue and leave no stone unturned.
Outside Alder Hey around 30 members of “Alfie’s Army” were supporting the family’s campaign as they awaited the decision.
Blue and purple balloons fluttered in the wind as they chanted, “Save Alfie Evans!”
As news of the decision filtered through, supporters stood in silence, wiping away tears and exchanging hugs.
Danielle Page, 32, from St Helens, said: “It is devastating. He’s not lying there like a vegetable, he’s a little boy, he’s a miracle. He needs a chance. Everything that’s been thrown at him, he’s battled through. We are not going to give up.”
Alfie’s father said after the ruling: “I need time to reflect on the judgement.”
A statement from Alder Hey Hospital said: “Our aim is always to try and reach an agreement with parents about the most appropriate care plan for their child.
“Unfortunately there are sometimes rare situations such as this where agreement cannot be reached and the treating team believe that continued active treatment is not in a child’s best interests.
“The Trust referred this case to the Family Division of the High Court to seek a determination as to what treatment Alfie should receive in his best interests.
“The Court has today made a decision about Alfie’s future care and treatment.
“We understand that this is a very difficult time for Alfie’s family and we will continue to work with them to agree the most appropriate palliative care plan for Alfie.”