BREAKING! Air ambulance arrives to spirit baby Alfie Evans to Italy as world watches a young life cling to hope and faith
A helicopter serving as an air ambulance has reportedly arrived at Alder Hey Hospital all set to fly embattled toddler Alfie Evans to Italy.
According to the Christian Legal Centre, the aircraft is waiting outside the children's hospital just as Alfie's family awaits a decision at today's emergency session.
The 23-month-old tot was taken off ventilator support on Monday at around 10:20 p.m. but his father Thomas Evans says his son is still breathing.
Today, Justice Hayden will preside over a hearing at around 3:30 pm in Manchester at the Family Division of the High Court. Hayden would be asked to travel to an Italian hospital and allow medical experts over there to examine the infant.
In the meanwhile, Alfie continues to breathe independently after the hospital stopped providing life support
"Alfie has survived much longer than the doctors predicted, lending support to the request from Alfie's parents for Alfie to be seen by medical experts in Italy," said a spokeswoman for the Christian Legal Centre.
"An air ambulance is now waiting outside Alder Hey Hospital ready to take Alfie to hospital in Italy."
According to her, a barrister representing Alfie's parents would argue that it could not be in Alfie's best interests to be "left to die in Alder Hey".
She added: "He will argue that Alfie should be allowed to travel to Italy where doctors are ready to care for him."
Alfie's parents, who want to take the 23-month-old to Rome for treatment have lost several legal bids so far.
Italy on Monday said it was granting citizenship to the toddler and Pope Francis issued an appeal on Twitter that the parents' "desire to seek new forms of treatment may be granted".
But High Court judge Anthony Hayden on Monday rejected an appeal by the parents, Tom Evans and Kate James, for a delay in order to give them time to present a new challenge.
The ruling allowed doctors at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool, northwest England, to withdraw treatment.
The Bambino Gesu (Baby Jesus) pediatric hospital in Rome, which is administered by the Vatican, has said a specially-equipped plane from the Italian defense ministry is on standby to fly to Britain to pick up the boy if he is released.
Evans met Pope Francis in the Vatican last Wednesday after several statements of support made by the pope.
"Moved by the prayers and immense solidarity shown to little Alfie Evans, I renew my appeal that the suffering of his parents may be heard and that their desire to seek new forms of treatment may be granted," the pope said on Twitter.
At an audience last week, he told attendees in reference to the case: "I want to reiterate and strongly confirm that the only master of life, from the beginning to its natural end, is God, and our duty is to do everything to protect life".
Hundreds of people have protested outside the Liverpool hospital in support of the father's plea for the boy to be discharged.
On Monday, a large group of protesters attempted to storm the entrance before being blocked by police.
(With inputs from AFP)