Last July, I wrote about the case of little Charlie Gard, and how when the UK’s National Health Service had given up on him, his parents had raised a considerable sum of money to seek an alternative, admittedly highly experimental, treatment to prolong his life. The NHS refused to allow that and the UK government backed them up, basically running out the clock on Charlie Gard’s life.
Now they’re doing it again. This time it’s a toddler named Alfie Evans who is fighting for his life in a hospital in the UK. He was (was!) on life support, but the hospital “pulled the plug”, yet as of this writing he continues to hang in.
The hospital basically threw up its hands at trying to save him. The parents looked elsewhere. Pope Francis stepped in and offered care to little Alfie in Italy.
The hospital said “no.”
They had given up and yet they refused to let him go elsewhere where someone else was at least willing to try to save the boy. And how were they able to prevent the parents from taking him elsewhere? Why, because of the British Courts, which ruled that Alfie was too ill to travel.
What? They’ve taken him off support to let him die but they’re afraid of the risk of travel? Will the travel make him more dead than the not treating him at all that they’re doing now?
In what universe is this even a sane decision?
The parents appealed to a higher court, which rejected the appeal and confirmed the lower court’s ruling.
And it gets better. The sane people who are hearing about this case are understandably upset. Many have spoken in anger about it. So what do the Merseyside police say? (Link saved via archive.is–what happens on the Internet, stays on the Internet).
We’ve issued the following statement following reports of social media posts being made in relation to Alder Hey Hospital and the ongoing situation with Alfie Evans:
Chief Inspector Chris Gibson said: “Merseyside Police has been made aware of a number of social media posts which have been made with reference to Alder Hey Hospital and the ongoing situation involving Alfie Evans.
“I would like to make people aware that these posts are being monitored and remind social media users that any offences including malicious communications and threatening behaviour will be investigated and where necessary will be acted upon.”
Yep, that’s right. Speaking out against this terrible crime is going to be investigated.
This is an outrage. This is what happens when you give the government too much power over individuals. Any power that can be abused will be abused. And any power can be abused.
Private insurance can, at worst, refuse to pay. It doesn’t stop you from raising funds elsewhere or seeking alternatives. Only government, with its license to use force, can do that.
How many more Charlie Gards? How many more Alfie Evans?
This has to stop.
16 thoughts on “The State is Still Mother. The State is Still Father. All Hail the State.”
Why should the alien lizard people from outer space stop killing us when they know we won’t do anything about it?
Reason number 4,978 why OMozzieCull needs to be repealed in its entirety, immediately. We don’t need even the possibility of an NHS in the U.S..
Sorry, but I have to completely disagree with you on this one. The feelings of the parents and the depth of their pocketbook are utterly irrelevant. The state in this case is, I believe, exercising their right to attend to the best interests of the children involved, who are too young and medically incapable of giving or withholding consent. Both children were deemed terminally ill. They are not monkeys or lab rats to experiment on. Who can tell what suffering they might endure in both travel and experimental treatments to only then end up as bedbound husks from the age of two till death? Does quality of life not come into the equation? Are they not to be afforded the dignity of natural death because their parents wishes should be given higher precedence than their own rights? The grief of the parents shouldn’t be even the slightest factor in the equation. The prognosis and best interests of the child should always carry the day, and unfortunately Alfie Evans is terminally ill. A peruse beyond the headlines reveals “A progressive neurodegenerative disorder has so corroded his brain that, in the words of high court judge, Mr Justice Hayden, a recent MRI scan shows a brain that had been almost entirely wiped out.” The state is asserting Alfie’s right to die and denying his parents apparent desire to have a vegetative child over whom to weep for decades to come, or however long they can keep his body functioning on life support. And no, I am not some heartless creature. I am fiercely loving mother of two. But I am also a realist and I know that the Pope could pray on bended knees for the rest of his life and it still wouldn’t do diddly squat to correct the ever decaying brain of Alfie Evans. The hardest part of loving someone is letting them go, but we all go in the end.
So, some nameless bureaucrat gets to make that call? Your faith in the bureaucracy is…interesting.
“Both children were deemed terminally ill.” And both children had at least one place that was willing to try to change that “deeming”. Why do you consider the NHS to have the unvarnished truth and the other options to automatically be wrong?
“Who can tell what suffering they might endure in both travel and experimental treatments to only then end up as bedbound husks from the age of two till death?” Using uncertainty as an excuse for forbidding parents to try to save their child’s life? That’s a new one.
“Does quality of life not come into the equation?” So, at what point during his rapid and complete loss of mobility should we have popped Stephen Hawking? It’s always so easy to make that decision for someone else. Some make it for themselves, and that’s there call. But one has to wonder when someone makes that call for others, are they doing it for the other’s good, or for their own? Consider one nation and it’s “cure” for Down’s Syndrome which consists of aborting all fetuses with Down’s. Is Down’s really so horrible that it’s better to be dead? I’ve known some people with Down’s. They don’t seem to think so. Yet some bureaucrat is making that choice for them.
Government mandated Euthanasia on grounds of “quality of life” and being a burden to the State has been tried before. It did not go well.
“dignity of natural death” there is no dignity in death, at best it’s a way to avoid something worse–a choice a person can make when they decide that they are sure, absolutely sure, that their isn’t even one more happy day ahead of them. I, however, don’t feel confident in making that decision for someone else. Thus, one choice can be reversed later if it proves to have been a mistake. The other? Not so much.
“their own rights” Whose rights? And what makes some unfeeling bureaucrat the arbiter of that.
“in the words of high court judge” Because judges are well known for being infallible experts on medicine.
“a brain that had been almost entirely wiped out” Then the arguments about possible suffering are moot. “A brain that had been almost entirely wiped out” cannot experience suffering.
“asserting Alfie’s right to die” Asserting their unchallenged power to kill him.
“but we all go in the end.” Which makes every day until then precious.
Look, either Alfie is truly as far gone as the NHS bureaucrats assert, in which case he cannot be harmed by transporting him elsewhere for additional, even if futile, attempts. Or he is not, in which case there is some chance, however small, that additional efforts can save him.
And it goes far beyond the cases of Alfie or Charlie. This is establishing precedent that the NHS can always make that decision. And are you so certain that they’ll always make the right one? Because sooner or later they will make the wrong one. They will decide that someone is unsaveable and they will be wrong and they will kill someone who could have been saved. And the groundwork for that is being set right here.
It is in the nature of life to struggle, to strive even against overwhelming odds to continue to live. In the words of the poet Dylan Thomas: “Do not go gentle into that good night. “Do not go gentle into that good night, Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the light.” While Thomas was speaking of old age, how much more should one resist the “dying of the light” for the very young?
““asserting Alfie’s right to die” Asserting their unchallenged power to kill him.””
I bet dollars to navy beans that Jennifer S is some sort of government bureaucrat her self. No normal human being would say what she said, it was too sick and twisted and demented.
Clearly the author prefers an echo chamber to dispassionate discussion. I didn’t realize I had wandered into a den of Liberals. My mistake. I leave you to your circle jerk.
If I’d wanted an echo chamber I would simply have never approved your comment from moderation. Instead, you were allowed to present your views. And I, and others, were allowed to argue others. That’s the exact opposite of an echo chamber. I’m sure this comes as a shock to you, but “dispassionate discussion” doesn’t mean that people will automatically agree with you. It’s hubris to assume that will be the case.
And it’s not “liberals” who oppose granting the State yet more power over the individual. Quite the opposite in fact.
“Clearly the author prefers an echo chamber to dispassionate discussion. ”
What you wrote expressed an acute psychotic megalomania:
“The state is asserting Alfie’s right to die”
Why would normal decent human beings want The State to be asserting the right of powerless people with no personal agency to die? How does The State know that the baby wants to die?
And, you expect “dispassionate” discussion when you and your omnipotent State are murdering babies? I pray to God Almighty that more passionate than you could ever imagine.
What a miserable life you must have, Jennifer, with all your trust given to government bureaucrats like that. I personally cannot believe you are capable of any joy or happiness, and would be glad to recommend withholding food and water—if only I had governmental authority to do so. /sarc
I suspect the real reason that the NHS wants to keep Alfie from seeking other treatment is that it may end up making them look bad. After all, if the precedent is established, eventually one of the people the NHS has given up on will get treatment that works (maybe even Alfie), and that would lead to questions about why even have the NHS then? The NHS and the judge both said this is what is best for the child, but it’s really what is best for the state.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned how much I like your political posts in particular. A lot of people analyze, opine, etc–but you have a particular way of tearing things down to base concepts and making comparisons that works very well with how I process things. I enjoy reading your posts.
Your response to the Die with Dignity response above is, if anything, an even purer case in point.
Thank you for sharing
Thank you for taking on this issue. I wrote a piece citing your article, and frankly, I copied the article. I thought the issue sufficiently important and your piece excellent. I did add a few ideas, I find the way the NHS operates to be fascist/authoritarian so I said so, and added a YouTube clip of Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine.”
Anyway, if you do not like or agree with my use, please advise.
I am more than happy to have people share these. I like attribution. And if someone wants to use it for commercial use, please talk to me and come to an arrangement (if you’re using my words to get paid, it’s only fair that I get a reasonable cut n’est pas?”).
I agree wholeheartedly; I receive no funding from any source, not Patreon, not ads.
I’m not inclined to worry about someone’s personal blog, even if it’s something that they’ve monetized. More worried about someone working professionally in the field using my work to make money for themselves.