Tuesday, 24 April 2018
What Is Being Hidden...?
It is now over 24 hours since Alfie Evans had his ventilator turned off, despite last-minute legal challenges from his parents. The doctors at Alder Hey Children's Hospital had previously stated that Alfie would be unable to survive on his own for more than three minutes.
After he survived overnight against all the odds, many of us hoped that the hospital authorities and the court would allow Alfie to be taken to Italy, where the Bambino Gesu Hospital had offered to care for the toddler for whatever remained of his life.
It is one thing to insist that further treatment is futile, and so cannot be provided by a hospital, especially in these times of NHS rationing. But to refuse to allow a child to be taken abroad for possible treatment and palliative care, at no further cost or inconvenience to the hospital, is just bizarre.
In my first post about Alfie, I remarked on the decisions being made ostensibly "in the best interests" of the child. When the parents refused to accept the verdict of the hospital authorities that it was in Alfie's "best interests" to be allowed to die, as his brain was too damaged to allow him any real quality of life, the hospital went to court to appoint someone more amenable to their views about Alfie's treatment, basically denying the parents any rights over the treatment decisions for their own son.
When, through constant campaigns on social media, Tom Evans and Kate James managed to find a European hospital willing to treat Alfie, the hospital ensured that the parents were prevented from taking their son out of Alder Hey. Even more bizarrely, the reason given was the danger to Alfie that might occur due to the stress of travel. So travel was opposed by the hospital on possible health grounds, while that same hospital was preparing to remove ventilation which would (in their opinion) definitely result in the child's death.
So, as mentioned earlier, many people following the case were confident that, after having survived for so much longer without ventilation than originally anticipated, Alfie would now be allowed to travel to Italy.
To the amazement of us all, the hospital opposed Alfie's removal. In addition, the clinician presenting evidence to the court hearing stated that it would not be possible to allow palliative care at home for Alfie because of the breakdown in relationships between the parents and medical staff. One interesting tweet from a journalist revealed that the clinician was still in hospital scrubs when in court.
How touching... the hard-working clinician hadn't even been allowed to change.
This makes me even more sceptical about the attitude of the hospital. I have never seen doctors or nurses wearing scrubs outside a hospital environment (and I've worked in many hospitals.)
Since when does the difficult relationship between a patient's relatives and medical staff prevent them going home? And the apparent fear experienced by some doctors due to the hostile atmosphere would be unnecessary if the child was no longer in the hospital.
It all seems to indicate that the medical personnel have something to hide. What could possibly be worse than Alfie dying at home or abroad... unless it is Alfie living. Or, if Alfie died, then a post-mortem carried out somewhere other than Alder Hey might reveal uncomfortable truths about the care, or lack of it, provided by Alder Hey.
Earlier today, a group of doctors from the Medical Ethics Alliance released a statement which outlined concerns about the behaviour of clinicians at Alder Hey. They have asked the GMC to investigate the medical tyranny which, in their view, has brought the whole medical profession into disrepute.
Remember that Alder Hey was the hospital involved in the scandal of retaining the body parts of dead children, and selling the tissues of live children to pharmaceutical companies.
Looking at the reports written by Alfie's father, it seems that there are many questions to answer about the care given to Alfie.
Why did doctors dismiss Alfie's parents' concerns about his lack of progress on three occasions, stating that the baby was "lazy" and "a late developer"? Why did Alfie catch a second chest infection in the hospital, after coming off the ventilator? What were the infections? Why was the cause of his seizures not diagnosed? Why did they first tell Alfie's parents that they would allow him to be transferred to another hospital, and then, when a hospital was found, admit that they had no intention of letting Alfie go? And finally, why are they so determined to ensure that Alfie dies in Alder Hey rather than at home?
Something's rotten, and it's not in the State of Denmark.