Parents of Charlie Gard lose final appeal
June 28, 2017 2 comments
The parents of a terminally ill baby have lost their final appeal against turning off his life support.
Ten month-old Charlie Gard suffers from the very rare genetic illness mitochondrial depletion syndrome. This causes progressive muscle weakness and hinders normal movement . He is thought to be one of only 16 children in the entire world with the condition. Earlier this year doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London applied for permission to end Charlie’s treatment, saying his condition was terminal and treatment was simply delaying the inevitable.
His distraught parents Chris Gard and Connie Yates opposed the plan, saying they wanted to give their son every chance and pinning their hopes on unproven treatment available in the United States. The unmarried London couple crowdfunded more than £1 million to finance the trip and medical procedure.
When the High Court backed the doctors, the parents pursued their case, first to the Court of Appeal and then to the Supreme Court. Unfortunately for them, both reached the same conclusion as the High Court, so the couple took the only remaining option to them and applied to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), doing so with the reluctant backing of the Supreme Court.
But the ECHR has now backed the doctors once more. In a “final” decision, judges said the stricken infant was most likely “being exposed to continued pain, suffering and distress” and that it was very unlikely the hoped-for experimental treatment in the US would bring him any benefits.
According to a BBC report, the baby’s life support machine will now be switched off in the next few days, following discussions between the hospital and his parents.
In a statement, the hospital stressed that “every possible support” would be given to the parents.
Connie Yates has already said the funds raised would be donated to a charity for mitochondrial depletion syndrome if their legal efforts were unsuccessful.
“We’d like to save other babies and children because these medications have been proven to work and we honestly have so much belief in them. If Charlie doesn’t get this chance, we will make sure that other innocent babies and children will be saved.”
Photo of the European Court of Human Rights by eggs-on-toast via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence
June 28, 2017
Categories: Family Life