THE BRITISH WANT ‘ALFIE’S LAW’

Beata Zajączkowska

The British are postulating for introducing ‘Alfie’s law’ which allow for avoiding conflicts between parents and doctors in the future, in cases of terminally ill children. Whereas a chairperson of the Papal Academy of Life archbishop Vincenzo Paglia announces organizing an inter-disciplinary conference in Vatican, which would prevent similar ideological disputes in the future. – I believe that the story of Alfie will allow us to understand how important it is to strengthen the culture of accompanying the ill till the end, not rejecting them of giving a verdict of death on them. When archbishop Paglia was announcing organizing the inter-disciplinary conference about bringing help to children in a similar state like Alfie Evans, Charlie Gard or Isaiah Haastrup (boys whose parents were not allowed to decide about the further therapy of their children), emphasized that no tribunal can decide about someone’s life, and courts must respect the will of parents. – The decision of British judges is the simplest way to permit euthanasia of children – Fr. Gonzalo Miradna, a dean of the bioethics faculty in the Papal Ateneum Regina Apostolorum warns. He points to the positive aspect of this dramatic situation. – Paradoxically, the tragedy of Alfie led to something good: to the world mobilization of consciences and opening eyes to what is happening. Millions of people clearly expressed their attitude for life and stood up for it, and it can put a dam against a quiet spreading civilization of death – the bioethicist emphasized.

A similar opinion was expressed by bishop Francesco Cavina, who led to a meeting of the boy’s dad with pope Francis. – The battle for Alifie was and is still a great battle for life of other children, who are and will be in a similar situation. What happened, clearly showed that we need to reflect on who has a right to decide about someone’s life or death. Surely, it is not a state or courts – the Italian hierarch noted.

Whereas in Great Britain a discussion began on a necessity of changing law in such issues, as Alfie, Charlie and Isaiah. None of the ill boys was not allowed to use further diagnostics abroad; it was explained with their ‘best interest’. All of them died after being disconnected from respirators. A discussion on changing the law was initiated by parents of Charlie Gard who have been giving consultations in this issue for a long time, among the others, with pediatrics, ethics, lawyers, politicians and parents who experienced similar situations. A new law would provide parents with more possibilities of decision-making in their disputes with doctors. Among the others, a special platform for mediation would be supposed to serve to it, before the disputes would get to courts. A proposal of new provisions is called ‘Charlies law’, and recently more often ‘Alfie’s law’.

Translated by Aneta Amrozik

Niedziela 19/2018 (13 V 2018)

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