USA residency for terminally ill baby to be proposed

Charlie’s parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard. More than 350,000 people have signed a petition seeking treatment for their 11-month old son
Charlie’s parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard. More than 350,000 people have signed a petition seeking treatment for their 11-month old son Getty Images
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11 July, 2017

A judge at London's High Court ruled against the hospital and in favor of the parents of baby Charlie Gard-who is suffering from a rare genetic disorder-that they may present new scientific evidence concerning their son's treatment, which will be reviewed this Thursday and could possibly lead to Charlie receiving treatment in the United States.

On Sunday, July 9, Charlie's parents delivered a petition to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London containing more than 350,000 signatures, calling for Charlie to be transferred.

The mother, Connie Yates, told the Press Association that doctors at Great Ormond Street wanted to turn off Charlie's life-support on Monday but decided not to after the White House intervened.

Professor Neena Modi, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said in an open letter that Charlie's situation is "heartbreaking" for his parents, but added that even well-meaning interventions from outsiders can be unhelpful.

The evidence came from researchers at the Vatican's children's hospital and another facility outside of Britain.

In March, however, Charlie's doctors recommended that they remove his life support, saying there was nothing more they could do to help him.

Charlie's parents then appealed against the decision, but courts ruled that the original decision should stand and that it would be in Charlie's best interests to be allowed to die with dignity. At one point, the baby's father, Chris Gard, yelled at a barrister representing the hospital: "When are you going to start telling the truth?" In fact, the petition comes after two USA congressmen promised his parents to give permanent residency status to the whole family, while the boy goes through the treatment there, which could be his last hope to survive.

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Speaking outside Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) on Sunday, his parents said: "He's our son, he's our flesh and blood".

It called for the family to be allowed to travel for the experimental treatment, though a High Court ruling blocked such a move on June 30.

"Our bill will support Charlie's parents' right to choose what is best for their son, by making Charlie a lawful permanent resident in the U.S.in order for him to receive treatments that could save his life", they said.

Ms Gollop said GOSH had been put under "relentless pressure" in light of the global media attention on the case and that by continuing to care for Charlie, medics were giving Charlie treatment which is "detrimental" to his ruling.

For those unfamiliar with the case in question, Charlie Gard was born in the United Kingdom in 2016 with mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, a severe condition that left him struggling for his life. "I think that was in part why so many doctors and hospitals began to step forward and say, in fact, this is something we are aware of and there are other [medical] options. If he's still fighting, we're still fighting", Mr. Gard said.

At the end of June, the European Court of Human Rights rejected an appeal by Charlie's parents that he be allowed to undergo the experimental treatment in the USA, following a similar ruling by the UK's supreme court.

When asked if it had made all the difference, Yates said that it had "saved his life so far". "They're all getting stronger", Yates said.


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