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HomeMedico-LegalJudge rules for mediation in brain damaged toddler's life support treatment

Judge rules for mediation in brain damaged toddler's life support treatment

A hospital in the UK has prevented parents from sending their brain damaged toddler to the same Vatican doctors who offered to help in the high-profile Charlie Gard case of earlier this year, The Daily Telegraph reports a court has heard. Tom Evans and Kate James, both 20 and from Liverpool, will hold private discussions with specialists caring for their 19-month-old son Alfie Evans at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool in January, lawyers say.

The report says a High Court judge has begun analysing preliminary issues in the case at a hearing in the family division of the High Court in London. Mr Justice Hayden was told that Alfie, who was born on 9 May 2016, was in a "semi-vegetative state" and had a degenerative neurological condition doctors had not definitively diagnosed.

The judge said he would make decisions on what was in Alfie's best interests if agreement could not be reached – and indicated that any trial would start in Liverpool on 1 February.

The report says earlier this year, a High Court judge ruled that doctors could stop providing life-support treatment to baby Charlie Gard, following a high-profile dispute involving the little boy's parents and bosses at Great Ormond Street Hospital. He died on 28 July shortly before he would have been a year old. The little boy suffered from a rare inherited disease – infantile onset encephalomyopathy mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome (MDDS).

The report said the judge in Alfie’s case said he wanted the couple to mediate with doctors. He said everyone wanted to do what was best for the child.

Specialists at Alder Hey say continuing life-support treatment is not in Alfie's best interests. However, Alfie's parents disagree and want permission to fly their son to a hospital in Rome. They hope that specialists at the Bambino Gesu Paediatric Hospital will be able to pinpoint what is wrong with Alfie.

Barrister Rebecca Foulkes, who is representing Alfie's parents, told the judge: "Their priority is to make sure that everything that can be done for Alfie is done." She added: "They are not willing to give up."

[link url="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/12/19/parents-embroiled-legal-fight-take-seriously-son-vatican-doctors/"]The Daily Telegraph report[/link]

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