A date to switch off the life support for a seriously ill Merseyside toddler at the centre of a legal battle has been set by a High Court judge.
In February, the High Court ruled Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool could stop treating now 23-month-old Alfie Evans.
The details of when it will happen cannot be reported for legal reasons.
Alfie’s parents’ legal fight against the decision ultimately ended in March when the European Court of Human Rights rejected their case.
The toddler has been at Alder Hey since December 2016 with an undiagnosed degenerative brain disease.
His parents, Kate James and Tom Evans, from Bootle, wanted doctors to take him to the Vatican-linked Bambino Gesu Paediatric Hospital in Rome for diagnosis and possible treatment.
‘Hope looks dim’
Mr Justice Hayden said that when he made his High Court ruling in February, he accepted medical evidence that showed further treatment was “futile”.
He said the “terrible reality” of what had happened to Alfie was “profoundly unfair”, but his “need now is for good quality palliative care”.
He added that during his legal fight, Mr Evans had been “at times hot-headed and impetuous, but he delights in his son” and had “encountered an unfairness about which he can do nothing”.
“His frustration at that has been palpable,” the judge added.
The Christian Legal Centre’s barrister Paul Diamond represented Alfie’s parents in the latest hearing at the High Court Family Division in London.
After the hearing the legal organisation which defends Christians said: “We are obviously disappointed with today’s outcome.
“We are discussing with the family any other legal remedies available.
“While hope looks dim, we nonetheless celebrate Alfie’s life. The impact his short life has made ultimately shows the world the precariousness of human life.
“My thoughts and prayers are with Kate and Tom this evening.”
In a statement on its website, Alder Hey Children’s Hospital said: “We understand this is a difficult time for Alfie’s family and we would ask that their privacy is respected.
“The trust will not be issuing any further comment at this point.”