A Rome pediatric hospital owned by the Vatican just offered to take 10-month-old Charlie Gard into its care. The offer came as an effort to prevent doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London from turning off the baby’s life support and to allow his parents to be the ones making the decision on whether to do so or not.
Mariella Enoc, president of the Vatican’s Bambino Gesu Children’s Hospital, issued a statement requesting the director of the London hospital where Charlie is hospitalized, to verify whether the health conditions exist to transfer Charlie to her hospital.
Enoc said they know Charlie’s is a hopeless case and, apparently, there is no effective therapy to treat him.
Bambino Gesu Hospital offered to care for Charlie Gard, but London hospital declined
Connie Yates, Charlie’s mother, has been in contact with Enoc, according to CNN. After they had spoken, Enoc reached the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, and she said the London hospital was very kind and thanked her for her interest, but confirmed that for legal causes, it would be impossible to transfer Charlie to their care.
Charlie is a terminally ill infant who has a rare genetic disease known as mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. The disease leads to weakened muscles and organ dysfunction, with poor prognosis for most patients diagnosed with it.
Charlie’s fate has been entwined in a legal battle, even though his parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, want their son to be released into their care so they can fly him to the United States for an experimental treatment.
However, last week after a series of legal appeals, the European Court of Human Rights decided that the hospital can discontinue life support for Charlie, who’s been in the intensive care unit since October. Charlie’s parents have been looking for legal and social support, and their case has even come to the attention of Pope Francis and President Donald Trump.
“The domestic courts concluded that it would be lawful for the hospital to withdraw life-sustaining treatment because it was likely that Charlie would suffer significant harm if his present suffering was prolonged without any realistic prospect of improvement, and the experimental therapy would be of no effective benefit,” said the court in a news release, according to CNN.
Charlie Gard’s life support will be discontinued Friday
Charlie’s life support is expected to be discontinued Friday. The ruling to end the baby’s life support, against the parent’s wishes, caused an uproar from around the world. On Sunday, Pope Francis called for Charlie’s parents to accompany and treat their baby until the end.
“The Holy Father is following with affection and emotion the situation of little Charlie Gard and expresses his closeness to his parents,” director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, said in a statement, according to CNN. “He is praying for them, in the hope that their desire to accompany and care for their own child until the end will be respected.”
The Bambino Gesu Hospital in Rome said in its statement that they offered to keep Charlie on life support and allow his parents to decide “how to handle” switching off life support and when to do it.