Parents of terminally-ill British toddler Alfie Evans lose court appeal

Thomas Evans, father of terminally-ill child Alfie, attends Pope Francis' Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican, on April 18, 2018.
Thomas Evans, father of terminally-ill child Alfie, attends Pope Francis' Wednesday general audience in Saint Peter's square at the Vatican, on April 18, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - The parents of a terminally-ill British toddler lost a last-ditch legal bid on Friday (April 20) to prevent doctors from turning off life support for their son despite getting the support of Pope Francis.

Mr Tom Evans and Ms Kate James had made an application to the Supreme Court to have the case re-examined after exhausting all other legal appeals for their 23-month-old son Alfie Evans, who is being treated at a hospital in Liverpool, northwest England.

The parents want to take their son to be treated at a hospital in Rome and hundreds of people protested outside the hospital last week when his father asked staff to release the boy.

Mr Evans met with Pope Francis in the Vatican on Wednesday (April 18), pleading with him to "save our son" in a Facebook post after.

At an audience the same day, the pontiff drew attention 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," he said.

The pope had already spoken about Alfie earlier this month.

"It is my sincere hope that everything necessary may be done in order to continue compassionately accompanying little Alfie Evans, and that the deep suffering of his parents may be heard," he said on Twitter.

"I am praying for Alfie, for his family and for all who are involved."