When Life is Litigated
The world has watched as the heartbreaking story of 2 year old Alfie Evans unfolded over the last several days. What should be a story of love, perseverance, and hope for a disabled infant, has been contorted into one of parental rights, court hearings, and state ordered death.
If you are not quite caught up on this case, the latest to focus our attention on the oh-so-benevolent powers of the UK healthcare system, Stacey Lennox at The Resurgent has done an excellent job writing about the ongoing developments.
Most of us have known someone with a terminal diagnosis. Many have grappled with the torturous decision to let someone go. Statistically, fewer of us have had to do so with a child. The argument that Alfie cannot be saved falls flat here. Anecdotal as it may be, how many of you have known someone who sought just one more opinion? One more course of treatment? Or hell, did nothing at all except stay comfortable or go to a place where they felt more so and outlasted all logical, medical predictions? I would guess that number is fairly high.
The point is not whether Alfie can be successfully cured or how long he might survive. The point is that he IS living now and that his parents are not legally allowed to do anything but watch him die as the hospital and courts see fit. They have fought for him. They have loved him. But they have been stripped of one thing that all good parents promise to do for their children. Make decisions to PROTECT them. They are deprived. Because government says so. That is the travesty.
There have been numerous solutions offered in this case:
Money is a problem? They’ll pay.
Keeping the hospital bed is an issue? They’ll go elsewhere.
The UK doesn’t see the need to continue his treatment? They’ll get Italian citizenship and military medical transport is on the tarmac.
Incredulously, they have all been denied. For what purpose? Why not just let them go? To protect the child from an adequately equipped plane ride he may or may not survive? Well what the hell is the difference than him dying in the hospital at any given moment? This has gone far beyond any medical or legal justification. It is a battle of pride, control, and politics.
The UK has actually sentenced this child to die how and when they say. When conference calls are being held after hours to EXPEDITE extubation, yet hearings are not granted with the same urgency, we should be skeptical. When those hearings are then delayed as every second counts while the child somehow survives on his own, it becomes more difficult not to question motives. When this child is being denied basic sustenance as he defies their odds, there should be great cause for concern, even among defenders of the hospital and courts.
Yet those defenders I will not entertain. I will not apologize for my intolerance. Presuming that the hospital is justified and protecting Alfie through refusal to comply with his parent’s wishes or even allow other options, I just cannot digest. It is the epitome of decades of indoctrination that those with authority are our betters. Worse, that some massive system could actually have our individual best interests at heart.
The system serves only one thing. Itself. And survival thereof.
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