The message couldn’t be clearer.
While the United Kingdom is still celebrating the birth of a royal baby to Prince William and his wife, Kate, the life of another British toddler is being snuffed out by the cruel system of socialized medicine.
And British courts have taken a firm stand on the side of letting young Alfie Evans die.
According to the U.K. Sun, some experts believe the boy is suffering from mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, the same condition that eventually killed the British infant Charlie Gard.
But even that’s not certain. Since the cause of the boy’s life-threatening illness is still unknown, and Alfie is in a “semi-vegetative state,” according to the U.K. Daily Mail, the possibility that any treatment is going to save him is remote, but it would take a heart of stone to deny his parents the smallest chance.
In Britain, in the seventh decade after the National Health Service and socialized medicine was established in 1948, it seems that hearts of stone aren’t hard to come by.
In fact, as the case of Charlie Gard proved last year, the lives of British babies are held awfully cheap — at least when they’re not in the royal family.
Twitter users noticed the contrast:
According to a timeline compiled by the Daily Mail, the Alfie Evans case started in December 2016, when the 6-month-old developed seizures apparently from a chest infection and was hospitalized at Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, where he had been on life support ever since.
According to the Mail, doctors have concluded that further treatment for the boy would be futile. On Tuesday, the boy’s parents, Tom Evans, 21, and Kate James, 20, lost a “last ditch” appeal that could have at least forestalled what might be inevitable.
While no longer on life support, he is receiving water and oxygen, and the parents say that proves he should be given a chance to live.
“They say Alfie’s suffering,” Evans fold reporters, according to the Daily Telegraph. “Well look at him now. He’s not even on a ventilator and he’s not suffering.”
But even that is apparently not enough to change the hearts of the British system.
Of course, it’s important to give the benefit of the doubt in any aspect of human affairs. And British medical and legal authorities might have good reasons that have not been well publicized for behaving the way they are. But to the general public — and clearly to Alfie’s parents — the decisions are unconscionable.
In the world of socialized medicine, the value of a life — especially a helpless toddler’s life — must be weighed against the cost of maintaining it. And when the parents of the helpless toddler are an unmarried couple from a working-class city like Liverpool, the value of the life apparently comes up short.
So as the rest of the country celebrated the birth of William and Kate’s third child — and second boy — authorities decided young Alfie Evans couldn’t leave the country for a final shot at life.
“Italy granted citizenship to the 23-month-old in a bid to have him transferred to a hospital in Rome, as the Pope intervened again in the case to say he hoped the boy’s parents would be able to seek new treatment,” the Daily Mail reported.
“Doctors in Liverpool have said the flight to Italy would be too difficult for him and UK courts, including the Supreme Court, have upheld their decision,” the Daily Mail reported. “Yesterday morning the European Court of Human Rights refused to intervene in the case.”
There’s no other way to read it but to infer that the U.K. government wants Alfie to die.
The publicity surrounding the Charlie Gard case eventually died down, they might be reasoning. There’s no reason to think the world will remember Alfie Evans for much longer.
But thinking humans on both sides of the Atlantic are going to start noticing that life is cheap for babies in the land of Britain — as long as they’re not in the royal family.
Because from the news this week, the message couldn’t be clearer.
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