Charlie Gard, the British baby that was the subject of a long legal dispute over his life, has passed away. His parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, had been campaigning for months to transfer their son from Great Ormond Street hospital in London to the United States, to receive an experimental treatment that might have saved him.
However, after a five-month dispute, the London hospital said that Charlie’s disease had stripped him of any chance of survival, and a court ruled that he couldn’t be transferred elsewhere.
Gard and Yates’ final plea was to take their baby to their home so that they could spend his last days together. But the hospital argued that he wouldn’t be cared for correctly there, and he was transferred to an unidentified hospice facility on Thursday. Sadly, he died today, a week before he would have turned one year old.
Charlie Gard dies after five-month-long legal dispute over his treatment
Charlie had a rare condition known as mitochondrial disease, which causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage. The baby was blind and deaf and was connected on life support.
“Our beautiful little boy has gone,” Yates said in a statement, according to The Guardian. “We are so proud of you, Charlie.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May said she was saddened by his death and sent her thoughts and prayers to his parents. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence tweeted a message to Charlie’s parents, too, and offered his prayers and condolences to his family.
Charlie’s parents fought ardently in court to ensure their baby was transferred to New York to receive an experimental treatment. His case attracted global attention, and thousands of people rallied to Yates and Gard’s side.
However, several courts ruled that Great Ormond Street hospital was fitted to decide whether the baby had a chance of survival, and they had a legal obligation to decide when to disconnect Charlie from life support. The hospital argued that Charlie was beyond help and that an experimental treatment would prolong his suffering.
Court ruled Charlie would be transferred to hospice and disconnected soon after
The U.S. doctor who was going to administrate the experimental treatment also agreed that, based on Charlie’s most recent brain scans, the baby was beyond their help. Yates and Gard then dropped their effort to transfer him. They regretted that they weren’t able to transfer Charlie sooner, as the baby might have had a chance to survive.
The parents asked a final wish to the high court judge that handled the case, Justice Francis. They asked him to let them take Charlie home so that they could spend the final days with their son.
“We just want some peace with our son, no hospital, no lawyers, no courts, no media, just quality time with Charlie away from everything to say goodbye to him in the most loving way,” Yates told SkyNews on Thursday.
The hospital refused their wish, claiming that it would be impossible to care for the baby at home. They also argued that, if transferred to a hospice, they wouldn’t be able to provide intensive life support to keep the baby alive for days. The court agreed and ruled that Charlie would then be transferred to a hospice and removed from life support soon after.
Charlie would have celebrated his first birthday next week.
Source: The Guardian