Saturday 20th October 2018

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To Whom Did Alfie Evans Belong?

May 14, 2018 Frontpage No Comments

By MIKE MANNO

Well, the Brits did it again. Not satisfied after killing Little Charlie Gard last July, they found a new victim, err, patient, whom Her Majesty’s government decreed should die, in his own best interests.
We all know the story of Little Alfie Evans, a child with an undisclosed — read that: undiagnosed — brain ailment and whose parents, with unmitigated gall, decided to try to save his life. You see, apparently in Great Britain, its Public Health Service — read that: socialized health service — is understood to be a better decision-maker for small children than the kid’s parents.
The government’s imprimatur grants to the decision-makers in the health service a wisdom that is not given to ordinary mortals, especially not to parents. That imprimatur bestows upon them an insight granted to few individuals: to determine when it is in the best interest of this mother’s child to die.
And, of course, complying with the government’s edict, Little Alfie — good subject of Her Majesty that he was — died quietly. Rule Britannia!
Not quite a Churchillian moment.
And now the British press is reporting that the boy’s legal team, the Christian Legal Centre, could face an investigation by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, which is now reviewing the matter. Apparently it is not enough to kill the boy; his defenders must also be dissuaded from ever doing that again!
Perhaps that is why, even though Pope Francis supported Little Alfie’s parents, English bishops were not exactly on the Alfie bandwagon. Liverpool Archbishop Malcolm Patrick McMahon even publicly supported the hospital against Alfie. Apparently, when you behead a bishop in 1535 (St. John Fisher), it produces a centuries-long chilling effect on some in the clerical state.
In Britain children belong to the state. But why worry? England and all this socialized medicine is, as they say, “across the pond.”
Worry.
What happened to Little Alfie Evans, just like what happened to Little Charlie Gard before him, is not limited to Britain, European society, or even to children. It is happening here, perhaps not in the same manner, but it is happening even though the elite among us laughed at Sarah Palin’s “death panel” warnings, and taught us to laugh along, too.
Thus the question I’m asking: To whom did Little Alfie Evans belong? Certainly it wasn’t to his parents. So to whom did he belong? And to whom do we belong?
A deeper examination of the issue reveals a naked truth: What hospitals, schools, courts, and governments deem to be in a child’s (or our) best interests often does not comport with what parents (or us) deem it to be.
In medical care there are a plethora of cases in which parents are fighting with medical authorities over whether or not to end life-sustaining measures. One such was the case of 14-year-old Sabrina Martin. Sabrina suffered a seizure after complications from surgery in a Texas hospital. The doctors told her mom that she should recover, but the seizure complicated matters.
After a few days with no recovery in sight, the medical staff began pressuring Sabrina’s mom and stepfather to end treatment, a suggestion they rejected. Ultimately the hospital decided it had the right under Texas law to do so.
Under the law, which several states have, the medical staff presents its recommendations to the family and the hospital ethics committee. If the committee adopts the doctor’s recommendation, the family is given only so many days to find another medical facility that will take the patient before treatment is withdrawn.
As an aside, under the law if the patient dies, the family can still sue for malpractice; however, the judgment amount will be substantially less than if the patient lived since no further medical expenses would be necessary. Obviously this puts the hospital in a serious conflict of interest in making its decision on the issue of life or death.
Sabrina was lucky. Another hospital accepted her and she lived.
In California a toddler named Israel Stinson was hospitalized with a breathing ailment. While in the hospital he had a heart attack, but doctors doing CPR were able to get the heart started. Little Israel, however, had been without oxygen and, according to the doctors, was brain dead. Medical staff decided to take Israel off life support, but his parents went to court to stop them.
In the meantime, a death certificate was issued and the court ruled against them, but unlike what happened to Little Alfie, the parents were able to take their son to Guatemala for treatment and ultimately returned to California where the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles accepted him.
Within days the hospital moved to take him off life support. Again the parents went to court and obtained an injunction against the hospital. Then the judge, saying the case had already been decided before Israel was taken to Guatemala, dissolved the injunction. Doctors then removed the little boy’s ventilator and he died.
This doesn’t just happen to kids. In 2015 a 46-year-old Texas man was diagnosed with a noncancerous mass on his pancreas. Even though the man was fully conscious and expressing the desire to live, the Texas hospital decided to discontinue life-sustaining care. The hospital sent a letter to him and his family which said, “The Committee has decided that life-sustaining treatment is medically inappropriate for Chris and that all treatments other than those need to keep him comfortable should be discontinued and withheld.”
The man died a month later.
These are not isolated cases. They represent a current trend that devalues life and disregards parental and patient wishes and creates a rush to terminate rather than sustain and honor human life in all its beauty. Our problem is that like sheep to the slaughter, we passively accept what our self-appointed gurus dish out — for us and our children. And it’s not limited to just medical cases. Every day there is another story about the erosion of parental rights in schools, and I try to bring the stories to you.
But, of course, I can’t. I could fill the whole paper with stories and it would cover only a small fraction of what is happening. Even as I was writing this, I received notifications of two new cases, one involving an 11-month girl who nearly drowned, but now is able to partly breathe on her own and has opened her eyes. The hospital wants to remove her ventilator. The other involves a 16-year-old boy who has already been removed from life support against his parents’ wishes.
Just be vigilant or there will be more Alfie and Charlie stories. And don’t be so quick to accept without challenge the opinion of experts. They’re not always right, as this will show:
A few years before Alfie there was another little boy, Ashya King. He suffered from cancer and against medical advice his parents took him from a British hospital and fled. They were found in Spain and jailed while the Spanish authorities held them on the British charge of child cruelty.
But the Brits’ attempt to have them extradited failed when the Spanish courts ruled that Ashya’s life was not being threatened by the parents’ action. Today, Ashya is still alive and attending school after receiving non-British medical treatment. He has been cancer free for over eight months.
So be vigilant and be prepared — it won’t end here. It won’t end until enough men and women with backbones fight back. Stop talking and start fighting.

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