David Alton comments on Alfie Evans case

However, the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has taken a different line, praising the medical staff at Alder Hey and distancing themselves from Rome's Bambino Gesù hospital, which has offered to take in Alfie for further treatment.

The father of terminally ill toddler Alfie Evans said Thursday that he plans to meet doctors to discuss taking his son home from a British hospital.

Doctors say the 23-month-old boy suffers from a degenerative neurological condition that has left him in a "semi-vegetative state" with nearly no brain function.

Since being taken off life support Monday, Evans has breathed on his own and has not been fed by the hospital staff.

Transporting Alfie home with Tom and Kate would be impossible because of the hostility of protesters toward staff, hospital staff said previously in court.

The earlier case of Ashya King graphically illustrated that experts can get things wrong - but, even more importantly, every parent has a fundamental right - and I would say duty - to fight for and care for the child to whom they gave life.

Alfie has been at the centre of a life-or-death treatment battle, with his parents trying to block doctors from withdrawing life support in a sometimes acrimonious six-month dispute which has seen a series of court battles.

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After the Evans family lost their last legal challenge, the hospital removed ventilation, but Alfie has survived longer than had been predicted, and he has been given oxygen, nutrition, and hydration. On Wednesday he said Alfie was being given food again after 36 hours without it.

As late as Thursday morning, Evans told LBC radio: "They [Alder Hey hospital] hate us. they don't like us". In such cases, the rights of the child take primacy over the parents' right to decide what's best for their offspring.

As the decision was announced, Merseyside Police, the police force for the Liverpool area, issued a message warning that it was monitoring social media posts on Alfie Evans.

Alfie's plight has been front-page news for weeks in Italy, where supporters launched a nine-day novena cycle of prayer in Rome's St. Peter's Square on Wednesday to show solidarity with Alfie, his parents and the pope's message of support.

The parents' efforts to move their child received support from around the world, including from Pope Francis, who tweeted on Monday: "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". Polish President Andrzej Duda demanded over Twitter Alfie be saved. "His fearless little body has proved again that the miracle of life can be stronger than death". "Alfie, we pray for you and your recovery!"

A British court will hear an appeal on Wednesday in the case of a gravely ill, 23-month-old boy whose case has attracted worldwide attention, including from Pope Francis.

Italy gave Alfie Italian citizenship, in an effort to facilitate his transfer, and the government of Poland also voiced its support to the family.