The Agonizing Case of Alfie Evans

E. Christian Brugger
Editor’s Note: This is the first article in a new Register series called “Difficult Moral Questions.” Readers are invited to send questions to, putting “Difficult Moral Questions” in the subject line. Please identify your first name (or, if you prefer, a suitable pseudonym) and the state you live in (and country, if not the United States).

QUESTION: Concerning the Alfie Evans case, I have heard three terms used somewhat loosely: 1) People on both sides have spoken about Alfie’s “best interests.” 2) Opponents of care have said that continued treatment would imply “therapeutic obstinacy.” 3) Others have claimed that further care would constitute “overzealous treatment.” How do these terms apply to Alfie’s case?