Charlie Gard’s parents end their legal battle

family law

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.”

She added:

“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

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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3 comments

dr. manhattan62 - July 24, 2017 at 7:35pm

it would seem that any chance the baby had was taken away by stubborn doctors who didnt want him getting treatment elsewhere.

the mother said
” her son’s muscles had deteriorated to the point that he would have no quality of life even if the treatment had been successful.”

but how could she possibly know that. not even the doctors would know unless they tried it. we have seen how survivors of Auschwitz Nazi death camp had no muscle tissue left they were walking skeletons and some couldnt stand up yet many of them came back from that to live a normal life.
Charlie might have too. it just doesnt make sense to throw in the towel after all they have been through. the Human brain is the most complex thing known to Mankind and when someone is classed as brain dead how do they know for shure. how do they know the brain hasnt just gone in to shutdown mode and could be reignited later on.
Einstein believed in – Dont believe everything youre told and challenge everything. they should have challenged the brain dead theory.

Samantha Cordy - July 26, 2017 at 1:41pm

It’s heartbreaking.
Can I just add please if this was decided at first,the local authorities would have been in there saying we’re looking on the best interest of the child Charlie and would have got court orders.
This family didn’t stand a chance which ever way they turned.
I lost a child 17 years ago there was never any support and he would still be hear now if the hospital wouldn’t have denied helping him.
There wasn’t much highlights about this either,actually nothing.
They put up a fight like any parent would and lost. They were never going to Change there mind but knew it was world wide. That’s why it wasn’t done sooner .
I wouldn’t like to be the at the end of the week to do the machines..
All eyes will be on this person and it’s cruel and inhuman what’s been/being allowed to happen.
Let Charlie go home with his parents,this can be done via mobile equipment. Let him go with dignity more so some sort of closure for them. They will never get over this. No parent would. My heart and prayers are with Charlie

dr manhattan - July 26, 2017 at 3:48pm

What struck me about this case was how the parents quickly accepted the findings of the US Doctor. he may be a specialist in Mitochondrial disease but he certainly doesnt know everything about it. how it starts how it functions etc. And there is no way he could be an expert on the entire human brain function. its the most complex thing known to man so how can any doctor be so shure that when they decide parts of the brain are dead that they are not just in some kind of shut down/ hibernation mode and could be reignited at a later point.

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