Rome

Ready to leave for Alfie says Bambino Gesù Hospital (3)

Plane laid on by defence minister

Ready to leave for Alfie says Bambino Gesù Hospital (3)

Rome, April 24 - Italy is ready to fly in a respirator for terminally ill British toddler Alfie Evans, who has been granted Italian citizenship in a bid to beat court orders to pull the plug, Vatican-owned Rome's Bambino Gesù Hospital chief Mariella Enoc said Tuesday. The hospital said "Alfie now has a respirator. The Bambino Gesù team is ready to leave on a plane provided by (Defence) Minister (Roberta) Pinotti." "I spoke a short while ago with Thomas, Alfie's father. At this time Alfie has an oxygen mask but we need to transport him". She added "a short time ago I spoke with Ambassador (Raffaele) Trombetta to whom I said that our team has been alerted and is ready to leave in a few minutes". Contacts between Italian representatives and British political, health and judicial authorities have been continuing since last night but for now the UK authorities say the child's British citizenship must take precedence in deciding jurisdiction, Italian sources said Tuesday. Liverpool's Alder Hey Hospital meanwhile said it would not be issuing any bulletins on Alfie's condition out of respect for the privacy of the child and his family. It said that Alfie had been put back on oxygen but not reattached to a life-support machine. Alfie is still alive almost twelve hours after his breathing tube was removed, sources close to his family said Tuesday. Alfie, who is now an Italian citizen, was taken off the respirator at 22:30 British time Monday (23:30 Italian). His parents Tom Evans and Kate James gave him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation all night after he was taken off life support, the sources said. Diplomatic contacts are ongoing with the aim of putting Alfue back on life support, sources said. Alfie is still breathing but will need "help" to continue to do so "in a couple of hours", his father Tom told the media Tuesday. This was not what doctors had expected, he said outside a Liverpool hospital. "They said he was suffering but instead he is not suffering even without the respirator," said Tom Evans. He added that Alfie had not had water or food for six hours but was then hydrated by medics. Alfie's mother Kate James is sleeping with him, Tom Evans said. Alfie was later put back on oxygen and water, his mother Kate James said. She added: "It doesn't matter what happens, he has already shown that the doctors are wrong". Kate James said "it is surprising". Alfie's family is in a legal battle with Alder Hey, which has been granted the right to withdraw ventilation as his condition cannot be treated and has destroyed much of his brain.

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