Ministers won’t intervene in controversial life support case

family life

Government ministers have ruled out intervention in a recent, controversial court ruling on the treatment of a baby with a serious genetic illness.

Earlier this month doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London were granted permssion to move eight month-old Charlie Gard off life support and on to a ‘palliative care’ regime in which he would receive pain relief but no active treatment. The baby, whose name has been publicly released, suffers from an incurable genetic illness, ‘mitochondrial depletion syndrome’, which causes chronic muscle weakness. The Great Ormond Street doctors claimed Charley had no chance of survival and was likely to be suffering.

His parents objected, arguing that they should be allowed to explore any hope offered by a pioneering method of treatment in the United States, despite little optmism from doctors there. A crowdfunding campaign set up by Charlie’s parents to pay for the treatment has attracted donations of more than £1.3 million.

High Court Judge Mr Justice Francis accepted the doctor’s arguments, saying he was convinced that it would be in the baby’s best interests to now be allowed to die with dignity.

Unsurprisingly, the ruling was received badly by the parents and their supporters and several online petitons were launched calling on the government to intervene and allow his parents to take Charley elsewhere for treatment. The couple – Chris Gard and Connie Yates – have already announced plans to appeal.

Their MP, Shadow Housing Minister Ruth Cadbury, urged Justice Secretary Liz Truss to “do the right thing” if “she has any powers to intervene”.

But speaking on behalf of the Justice Secretary, Tory MP Phillip Lee insisted that while the case was “particularly emotive… clinicians at Great Ormond Street have made a judgment in this case and I think that should be respected.”

Lee is Minister for Victims, Youth and Family Justice.

Photo of Great Ormond Street Hospital by Nigel Cox via Wikipedia under a Creative Commons licence

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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5 comments

drmanhattan62 - April 26, 2017 at 10:56pm

“Lee is Minister for Victims, Youth and Family Justice.”
REALLY!
More like Minister of Doom.

Andrew - April 27, 2017 at 11:16pm

The point is that Lee is not Minister for Meddling in Private Litigation and no more should he or Ms Truss be. And as John Bolch as reminded us online petitions are not a form of appeal.

JamesB - April 28, 2017 at 9:53am

Most victims are male. Just wanted to remind people and the government that they are losing half the electorate with the feminist vocabulary, like minister for women, and minister for victims youth and family.

How about we have a minister for sport and socialising and a minister for social cohesion and a minister for housing and population rather than the tired feminist special interests please, they should be much more useful.

JamesB - April 28, 2017 at 9:56am

I would even go as far as saying less destructive also.

JamesB - April 28, 2017 at 10:17am

Perhaps I am getting cynical and biased by my experiences with family law and government intervention (it usually doing more harm than good) and victims and youth and family help is laudable. Community cohesion I should have and meant to say in last comment.

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