Friday, April 27, 2018

The Alfie story

The Guardian finally explains the background to some of the hangers-on who have politicised the Alfie Evans story for their own polemic purposes.   That really is sickening, especially when hospital staff should be getting death threats from right wing nutters.  And now, it would seem that the father might have had enough too, as he has issued a statement in which he appears to be reconciled to the fact that the British doctors may have had his child's best interest at heart, after all.

The weirdest thing about this case, I reckon, is the story that the Italian defence force had been authorised to fly the child to the Vatican aligned hospital, and that there was an Air Ambulance waiting to go.  I can understand (although regret) the Pope shoving his nose into this, but why would the Italian government lend its active support as well?   Strikes me as weird and strange.  Especially when the hospital was giving no hope of a cure at all:

Three experts from the Bambino Gesù hospital visited Alfie in Liverpool at the request of the parents, but they agreed with the doctors that further treatment would be “futile” in finding a cure.

However, they also said they were willing to take the tot to Rome to undergo operations to help him breathe and receive food, which would keep him alive for an “undefined period”.

Alfie’s parents hope that the specialists at the Bambino Gesù hospital will be able to pinpoint what is wrong with Alfie.

Dr Mariella Enoc, the president of Bambino Gesù, said: “We are ready to welcome Alfie, as we do with many children who come here from all over the world.

“We certainly do not promise to heal him, but to take care of him without overly aggressive treatment.”

Although acknowledging there is probably no cure for Alfie, Enoc said they would continue to provide a ventilator for him.

She said: “We do not argue that the diagnosis made by the British hospital will be changed, we only offer the possibility that the child can go on living. It is a bit difficult for us to understand why they will not allow him to be transported.”

She explained how the hospital would insert a breathing and feeding tube, which would not cause undue suffering.
So, simply offering to prolong keeping the kid alive until the parents get to the inevitable point of saying "OK, enough now", which may only be a matter of a week or two away?   I read somewhere, I think, that the hospital was talking about 2 weeks worth of treatment to identify the cause of his brain eroding illness.    Why would the Italian government get involved in spending money on such a purpose?

Fortunately, the Catholic Herald, as it did in the Charlie Gard case, gives a reasonably balanced account of what has happened, noting that English bishops have actually appeared to side with the hospital.   You don't see that reported on Fox News.  

I hate to say it, but you know what the problem with the Right wing media frenzy seems to come down to?   As with the Gard case, if the child, regardless of actual health, is handsome, it makes for easy, purely emotional PR campaign to appeal to the sentiment "how could the hospital wish death on such a beautiful looking boy"?  I would bet that if the illness was a disfiguring one, you would get no where near the public interest.

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