In a swingeing attack on Liverpool’s Alder Hey Hospital, US-based Catholic commentator Matthew Archbold accused hospital administrators of ‘imprisoning’ Alfie Evans and wanting him dead to preserve ‘faith’ in a ‘socialised’ health care system.
Shortly before the boy’s death last Saturday, Archbold, writing for The National Catholic Register, outrageously claimed:
A young boy was imprisoned, yes imprisoned, and the judge in the case could only think to scold the father to check his tone and speak only in subservient tones. What I heard was the judge saying that your son is going to die in our hospital and you will thank us for the deathbed we provide.
He added that hospital staff feared that people:
Would lose faith in the health care system if they saw Alfie leave the country and perhaps even prosper. Yes, think about it, what was the ‘worst case’ for Alder Hey and the NHS? It’s that the child would have gone to Italy and lived. Or worse yet, thrived. That was the outcome to be avoided.
It’s not odd that a culture that has loosed itself from Christianity is abandoning the very idea of individual rights. And that’s what it’s about. Ironically it’s about preventing the loss of faith in the institutions of a country that largely abandoned its faith in God. So now you have the state playing God. And it seems to me that those who play God often do the devil’s work.
I can’t help but wonder why every student in Catholic school wasn’t told about Alfie Evans. My own children in Catholic school were unaware of this unfolding horror. So many times I’ve heard that making the faith relevant to young people is difficult. Well here it is.
A drama ripped from the headlines that perfectly contrasts the beauty of Catholic teaching about the sacredness of life vs. the prevailing ethics of utilitarianism. The contrasting worldviews are laid bare.
Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that the hospital is to consider tightening security after the “unprecedented” abuse of medics treating Alfie Evans, amid warnings that other children’s hospitals could soon follow suit.
It is understood that senior staff at the hospital in Liverpool will discuss introducing more rigorous procedures in the coming weeks.
Security concerns at children’s hospitals have been further raised by claims that foreign-registered doctors have been posing as family friends to conduct unauthorised examinations in cases involving severely ill babies.
Peter-Marc Fortune, above, a senior consultant and spokesman for the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, said he was quite alarmed by the assessments. He said:
I fear this might end up with us tightening security in children’s hospitals which I think is really unfortunate because what we aim to do is make children’s hospitals less scary and as friendly as possible. We try to make it a very unchallenging environment for people.
In light of what’s happened, I think there will be some pause for thought and reflection and discussions. I don’t know how that might manifest but it seems to me it might mean we tighten things up a bit.
The Guardian revealed on Saturday how an international network of Catholic fundamentalists played a key role in advising Alfie’s parents, including organising a meeting with Pope Francis, arranging a string of medical experts to assess Alfie and replacing the family’s Liverpool-based legal team.
Fortune, who is president of the Paediatric Intensive Care Society, said he and fellow medics had been alarmed by the personal abuse directed at staff in the Alfie Evans case.
The scale of the attacks were described as “unprecedented” by Alder Hey’s Chairman and Chief Executive, and condemned by Alfie’s father. For several days, Merseyside police stationed officers outside the hospital where hundreds of protesters gathered. At one point, dozens tried to storm the front entrance.
Fortune said almost 20 percent of trainee roles in paediatric departments were unfilled and that the abuse faced by Alder Hey staff could further damage recruitment.
The other thing that worries me, as an established professional who is ready to have the difficult conversations, this makes it very scary when you’re not just potentially going to put yourself in a very difficult conversation but end up with hate mail and things coming your way. The saddest thing of all of this is that all the people at the centre of this all wanted the same thing, which is the best thing for the child.
Religious interference in the case was further escalated by the Christian Legal Centre, headed by Andrea Rose Minichiello Williams, above, who calls herself a “barrister”. But, in a scathing attack on the outfit, the Nearly Legal blog, which accused the the CLC of having “questionable ethics”, said:
There is no Andrea Williams or Andrea Minichiello on the BSB (Bar Standards Board) register.
A key figure in the CLC’s involvement in the Evans case was a so-called “lawyer” Pavel Stroilov, who was described recently by a High Court judge as:
Mr Justice Hayden hit out at Stroilov, who is in fact merely a law student. He criticised Stroilov’s “malign hand” and told the Family Division of the High Court that some of his legal advice had come close to contempt of court.
The court heard the adviser had been party to Alfie’s dad, Tom Evans, lodging a private prosecution of Alder Hey Hospital doctors, allegedly for murder.
Before joining the Christian Legal Centre, Stroilov, a Russian exile, worked for Ukip as an aide to MEP – and now party leader – Gerard Batten.
The judge said, in fact, the Liverpool-based hospital had provided “world class” care for the little boy.
Hat tip: Ivan Bailey (Guardian report) and BarrieJohn (CLC report).