So what would it take for the Alfie Evans case to draw major coverage in elite American publications?
That was the main question discussed in this week's "Crossroads" podcast. Click here to tune that in.
At the time I wrote my first post on this topic, earlier this week, the NPR site was blank (it still is, by the way), in terms of "Alfie" content and justifiably famous international desk of The New York Times was running short stories from the Associated Press. However, The Washington Post had published a major story -- from the religion-news desk. (CNN did a story of its own, as well.)
Maybe the key was to view this as a religion-beat story?
The Times has now published a lengthy story about the case, under the headline: "Fight Over Alfie Evans, a Brain-Damaged Baby, Divides U.K." Here is the calm overture:
LONDON -- Alfie Evans does not know it, but he is the subject of a national debate in Britain, international diplomacy and a bitter legal dispute. He is held up as a tragedy, a beacon of hope and an object lesson. And he might not live to turn 2 years old.
The hospital and doctors treating him in Liverpool say that Alfie suffers from a degenerative neurological condition that is certainly fatal, that he is in a semi-vegetative state and that the only humane course of action is to let him die. His parents, supported by the Italian and Polish governments and the pope, are not convinced that he is beyond hope, or even that the doctors understand his condition, and they want to continue his care.
On Wednesday, the British Court of Appeal upheld a ruling that not only approved the withdrawal of care and sustenance, but also prohibited his parents from seeking treatment elsewhere, despite an invitation to take him to a hospital in Rome. The decision is wrenching to the parents, the courts have said, but prolonging Alfie’s life would prolong his suffering, and so it would be contrary to his interests.
The staff of Alder Hey Children’s Hospital took Alfie off a ventilator on Monday, but defying expectations, he kept breathing on his own.
The religion angles of the story are covered -- kind of.