A UK High Court judge may have deemed his decision Tuesday "the final chapter" in the case of little Alfie Evans, but Alfie's parents aren't ready to accept that ending. The BBC and Guardian report on the court's ruling that the seriously ill 23-month-old—who suffers from a rare degenerative neurological disorder and who was taken off life support Monday—can now return home from Alder Hey Children's Hospital or be placed in hospice, but that his parents, Tom Evans and Kate James, can't bring him to a Rome hospital for further treatment. Although Justice Anthony Hayden described the toddler as "a fighter, resilient, courageous and a warrior," he doesn't think further treatment will make any difference in Alfie's condition and that his parents should take this "special opportunity" to spend time with him, not waste it on what he sees as futile treatment and legal battles.
Hayden also rejected claims by Alfie's father that the boy was doing "significantly better" after Alfie was said to have breathed without machinery for 20 hours after being taken off life support. "The brain cannot regenerate itself and there is virtually nothing of his brain left," Hayden argued. Alfie's parents are appealing Hayden's decision and tell the BBC they have an appointment at the appeals court set for Wednesday. They'd like Alfie to receive care at Bambino Gesu Hospital, which has ties to the Vatican. "I'm not giving up because Alfie is breathing away," Evans says. "He is not suffering, he is not struggling; he is fighting." Both Pope Francis and Italian authorities have supported the family's desire to bring Alfie to Rome, with the pope saying "only God can decide who dies," per CBS News. (Alfie's case is reminiscent of that of baby Charlie Gard, who died last summer.)