Vatican: Parents, hospital must talk in UK sick toddler case

This Dec. 19, 2017 file photo shows Tom Evans and Kate James, the parents of seriously ill Alfie Evans, in England. The head of the Vatican’s bioethic

LONDON (AP) — The head of the Vatican's bioethics think tank says he hopes a dialogue can be reopened in the case of Alfie Evans, a terminally ill British toddler whose parents are locked in a legal battle over his care.

The 23-month-old Alfie is in a "semi-vegetative state" from a degenerative neurological condition that doctors have been unable to definitively identify. His parents want to take him to the Vatican's Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital in Rome but have been blocked by British courts, which say his condition is irreversible.

Monsignor Vincenzo Paglia, head of the Pontifical Academy of Life, said Sunday that Alfie's parents and hospital officials should work together so his life isn't "reduced to a legal dispute."

Britain's Court of Appeal will hear an appeal from the parents this week.