A Vatican-owned hospital has offered to admit Alfie Evans, the 23-month-old toddler at the center of a life support legal battle between his parents and the British health and justice systems. His father, 21-year-old Tom Evans, has sought an audience with Pope Francis to help save his son, who has been afflicted with an unknown brain disorder that has no potential cure.
Authorities at the children's hospital Bambino Gesù in Rome said that they are ready to take care of the little boy. The hospital's president Mariella Enoc said: "We certainly do not promise to heal him, but to take care of him without overly aggressive treatment."
Alfie is currently on life support at the Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool, but the British court has ruled that the child should be off the machines and administered palliative care. The court has also not allowed the family to bring Alfie to Italy. His parents, however, have challenged the ruling.
"We do not argue that the diagnosis made by the British hospital will be changed," Enoc further said. "We only offer the possibility that the child can go on living," she added.
Meanwhile, Tom met with Pope Francis to ask for his intervention in the family's legal battle. The pontiff has previously openly expressed his support for the sick child in his homilies and tweets.
It is my sincere hope that everything necessary may be done in order to continue compassionately accompanying little Alfie Evans, and that the deep suffering of his parents may be heard. I am praying for Alfie, for his family and for all who are involved.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) April 4, 2018
Following the meeting, the pope has tasked Italian Bishop Francesco Cavina to coordinate with the Vatican State Secretary to explore all options to fly Alfie to Bambino Gesù, according to La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana. The pope was also advised that the police have kept guard over Alfie at the Liverpool hospital.
In his homily following the meeting with Alfie's father, Pope Francis reiterated that only God could determine a person's natural end. It is, however, the duty of every person to preserve and care for life as long as possible.