Seriously ill British toddler Alfie Evans is surviving after being taken off life support, according to his father.
Tom Evans said his 23-month-old son survived for at least nine hours with no assistance, and that doctors are providing oxygen and hydration.
“He’s now on oxygen,” Mr Evans said. “It’s not changing his breathing but it’s oxygenating his body.”
Alfie has a degenerative neurological condition doctors have been unable to identify.
His parents want to take him to the Vatican’s Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital.
Doctors at Liverpool’s Alder Hey Children’s Hospital believe that would not be in the toddler’s best interests, and British courts have agreed.
He was taken off life support after a series of court rulings backed doctors who said further treatment was futile.
Alfie’s parents said the toddler was showing signs of improvement with continued treatment. (Facebook: Alfies Army)
The situation has sparked much public debate and attention, including from Pope Francis.
On Sunday Pope Francis offered prayers for Alfie and others who are suffering from serious infirmities.
Francis has made appeals for the boy to be kept alive, saying only God can decide who dies.
The head of the Vatican’s Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital said the Italian defense ministry had a plane ready to transport Alfie to Italy if he were allowed.
In an interview with Italian Radio 24, Mariella Enoc, who travelled to Liverpool to personally try to intervene on behalf of the parents, said she spoke to the Italian ambassador in London who said the plane could leave with him in a matter of minutes.
On Monday, the Italian foreign ministry announced it had granted Alfie Italian citizenship to facilitate his arrival and transport.
The hospital said it would not be offering a running commentary on the child’s condition.
“This is our normal and agreed practice with all our patients,” the hospital said in a statement.