Liverpool

Alfie Evans: Judge orders new scans of seriously ill boy

Alfie Evans Image copyright Alfie's Army Facebook
Image caption Alfie Evans suffers from a progressive neurological degenerative condition

A seriously ill toddler is to undergo fresh brain scans at a judge's request.

Tom Evans and Kate James, both 20 and from Bootle, want to take their son Alfie abroad for treatment.

A sitting of the High Court in Liverpool is to decide if life support should be withdrawn from the 20-month-old, who has a mystery illness.

Mr Justice Anthony Hayden, hearing the case, said he was deciding on a "matter of life and death" and it was "vital" he had the most up-to-date information.

Alfie is in a "semi-vegetative state" and has a degenerative neurological condition that has not been precisely diagnosed.

Despite mediation between the parents and specialists caring for the toddler at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool, the court will decide the child's fate.

'Best interests'

Hearing evidence for the second day, the court was told by one consultant that conditions like Alfie's were what doctors feared most.

"When we see disease like this, this is one of the reasons people don't want to become paediatric neurologists, because they are awful and it is not a word I choose lightly," the consultant said.

"This is one of the most difficult of all things... for parents, but also for professionals."

The medic said withdrawing life support would only happen "if I'm convinced, and this is as close to 100% as I possibly can, to accept that there's no hope".

"We have to consider the best interests of the child before you consider anything else."

The court was also told that while it was understandable Alfie's family were "leaving no stone unturned", a cohort of experts had come to the same conclusion: that his disease was incurable.

Mr Justice Hayden said the new MRI scans must take place within the next 24 hours.

The hearing continues.

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