Charlie Gard’s parents end their legal battle
July 24, 2017 3 comments
The parents of chronically ill baby Charlie Gard have abandoned their legal battle after accepting that there is now no chance of saving him.
The baby, a few weeks short of his first birthday, suffers from the genetic illness encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. Symptoms of this include progressive muscle weakness and brain damage.
Earlier this year Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) applied for permission to transfer Charlie to a palliative care regime, in which he would receive pain relief but no active treatment. Doctors insisted that his condition was irreversible and further treatment would be futile.
His parents angrily opposed this, crowdfunding a large sum to pay for experimental treatment in the US. Multiple hearings followed, all going against the parents. The European Court of Human Rights finally ruled that Charlie’s life support should be switched off at the end of June, before Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) unexpectedly requested a fresh court hearing earlier this month, citing new medical evidence.
But the parents have now decided their battle cannot continue. Their lawyer today informed presiding judge Mr Justice Francis that following a recent MRI scan, the US doctor who would have treated the baby was no longer willing to do so, because his condition had advanced too far and they now accepted that “time had run out” for their son.
The Judge praised the parents’ courage and determination and said no parents could have done more for their child.
The lawyer representing Great Ormond Street also paid tribute to Chris Gard and Connie Yates, saying the hearts of everyone at the hospital went out to them.
Connie Yates read an emotional statement to High Court, explaining that her son’s muscles had deteriorated to the point that he would have no quality of life even if the treatment had been successful.
“This is one of the hardest things that we will ever have to say and we are about to do the hardest thing that we’ll ever have to do which is to let our beautiful little Charlie go.”
“Put simply, this is about a sweet, gorgeous, innocent little boy who was born with a rare disease, who had a real, genuine chance at life and a family who love him so very dearly and that’s why we fought so hard for him. We are truly devastated to say that following the most recent MRI scan of Charlie’s muscles… as Charlie’s devoted and loving parents we have decided that it’s no longer in Charlie’s best interests to pursue treatment and we will let our son go and be with the angels.”
She insisted that Charlie might have had a chance if treatment had begun earlier, blaming “a whole lot of wasted time” for the situation in which they now found themselves.
Supporters of the family reacted angrily to the news outside the courtroom, chanting “shame on GOSH” and “shame on you judge”.
Photo by Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence
July 24, 2017
Categories: Family Life