TOP EU leader backs terminally ill British baby’s transfer to Italy

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Brussels, April 24 (IANS/AKI) European Union Parliament President Antonio Tajani on Tuesday said that seriously ill 23-month-old British baby Alfie Evans should receive further treatment, possibly in Italy, after his life-support was withdrawn by a British hospital.

“I think it’s right to give Alfie another chance,” Tajani said on the sidelines of a meeting in Brussels with the president of the Italian Bishops Conference, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti.

“Without officiously striving to keep him alive, it might be possible to treat him in Italy, at the Bambin Gesu hospital for example,” he said, referring to the Vatican-run children’s hospital in Rome.

“There should be hope for this little European citizen, whose life every attempt should be made to save.”

Tajani’s comments came as Alfie’s father Tom Evans said that his son was breathing on his own and had been given oxygen after Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool on Monday turned off his life support following a ruling by Britain’s High Court in February.

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Italy’s Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano and Interior Minister Marco Minniti on Monday granted Alfie Italian citizenship in the hope that he could be transferred to the Bambin Gesu hospital to continue his care – as his parents desire. Pope Francis has also intervened in the case.

A candle-lit vigil was held by supporters of Alfie outside the hospital overnight, where earlier in the day protesters had tried to storm the entrance in scenes that bystanders described as “terrifying”.

The hospital has argued that keeping Alfie on a ventilator is not in “his best interests” and any further treatment was not only “futile” but also “unkind and inhumane”.

Alfie has been in Alder Hey since December 2016 with a rare undiagnosed degenerative neurological condition. His condition has been described as “semi-vegetative”.

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–IANS/AKI

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