The parents of seriously ill toddler Alfie Evans have launched a further appeal in a bid to take him abroad for treatment.
A High Court judge said the 23-month-old may be allowed home from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, where his life support was withdrawn.
But Mr Justice Hayden refused to allow Tom Evans and Kate James to move their son to a hospital in Rome.
The Court of Appeal judges have retired to consider their decision.
At the start of the hearing, three senior judges heard Alfie, whose life support was removed on Monday, was “struggling”.
Jason Coppel QC, representing Ms James, said she had told him her son needed “immediate intervention”.
‘Clutching at straws’
Paul Diamond, acting for Mr Evans, told judges he had spoken to his client before the hearing, who had told him to “save my boy”.
“He would leave no stone unturned… He is clutching at straws,” he said.
Mr Diamond argued that there had been a “significant change of circumstances” because Alfie was still breathing after life support treatment stopped on Monday evening.
He said an “alternative” was available, and a military air ambulance was on standby “at the request of the Pope”.
“We submit there is a likelihood of Alfie having some pleasure in life,” Mr Diamond said.
But appeal judge Lady Justice King disagreed.
She said evidence showed that, while Alfie was unlikely to feel pain, “tragically everything that would allow him to have some appreciation of life, or even the mere touch of his mother, has been destroyed irrevocably”.
Michael Mylonas QC, for Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, said Mr Diamond had accepted “categorically” before the appeal court and before Mr Justice Hayden that “there is no new medical evidence to contradict the evidence” that was before the High Court in February.
“It was never suggested that death would be instantaneous.”
He said Alfie has previously survived six to 10 days without a ventilator and it has “never been said to [his] family that Alfie would die immediately or before sundown”.
Mr Mylonas said the “tragedy” for the parents was that Alfie looked like a normal child.
Outside court, two people believed to be German air ambulance staff were escorted from Alder Hey by police.
They were seen speaking to members of the Evans family.
On Tuesday, his parents, backed by the Christian Legal Centre, brought a fresh application for Alfie to be moved from Liverpool to the Vatican-linked Bambino Gesu Hospital in Rome.