As Alfie Evans dies, calls grow for better ways to support grieving parents

Source: The Guardian

BY and Alastair Thomas

Leading consultant says new approach needed to end disputes between parents and hospitals

Flowers, candles and toys
 Flowers, candles and toys left outside Alder Hey hospital in Liverpool following the death of Alfie Evans. Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

A leading expert in medical ethics has called for new mediation panels to prevent the “entrenched disagreements” that surrounded the treatment of Alfie Evans, the 23-month-old boy who died yesterday, almost a week after his life support was withdrawn.

Dominic Wilkinson, professor of medical ethics at the University of Oxford and a neonatal consultant, said that independent mediators could help people such as Alfie’s parents, Thomas Evans and Kate James, who repeatedly clashed with doctors over their child’s treatment for a degenerative brain disease, culminating in a protracted high court battle.

The call for a fresh approach came amid an outpouring of grief from well-wishers, including Pope Francis, with more than 1,000 people gathering near Alder Hey children’s hospital in Liverpool to mourn Alfie’s death early yesterday morning.

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