Pope Francis called attention to the plight of British infant Alfie Evans and French patient Vincent Lambert during remarks at the Regina Coeli with pilgrims in St Peter's Square on Sunday.
The families of Alfie and Vincent have been fighting legal battles to ensure their loved ones continue to receive necessary, basic medical care.
Alfie Evans is suffering from an undiagnosed degenerative brain disease which requires that he is kept on a ventilator. His parents have sought to continue treatment and several hospitals overseas have offered to take Alfie and give a second opinion but personnel at Alder Hey Children's Hospital in Liverpool are insisting that life support be removed. Several hospitals overseas have offered to take Alfie and give a second opinion. Hundreds of people have been holding vigils outside the hospital appealing for Alfie to be taken abroad for treatment. Alfie's family have appealed for supporters to come to Alder Hey Hospital at 9.30 on Monday morning, where an appeal hearing will be held at 10.20am. For more information see: www.facebook.com/freeAlfieEvans/
Earlier this month, Pope Francis tweeted his support for Alfie Evans and his family, saying, "It is my sincere hope that everything necessary may be done to continue compassionately accompanying little Alfie Evans, and that the deep suffering of his parents may be heard."
Vincent Lambert was seriously injured in a car accident in 2008, leaving him quadriplegic. However, his parents, with the concurrence of some doctors, say he is not in a coma, is able to breathe unassisted, and his internal organs are working normally. Doctors and officials at Sebastopol Hospital in Reims, want to remove "ordinary means of life support," namely, food and water. Doing so would bring about Lambert's death, and would be considered passive euthanasia.
In his remarks on Sunday, Pope Francis said he is praying for both "little Alfie Evans" and Vincent Lambert, and for others in similar situations. "They are delicate, very sorrowful, and complex situations," he said. "Let us pray that every sick person might always be respected in their dignity, and cared for in a manner adapted to their condition, with the concordant input of their families and loved ones, of the doctors, and of other health care workers, with great respect for life."