Char­lie Gard dies af­ter life sup­port with­drawn

The Korea Times - - WORLD -

LON­DON (AFP) — Char­lie Gard, the ter­mi­nally-ill Bri­tish baby whose plight drew sym­pa­thy from Pope Fran­cis and U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and sparked a de­bate about med­i­cal ethics, died on Fri­day, his mother said.

His par­ents, Con­nie Yates and Chris Gard, had fought a lengthy le­gal bat­tle to al­low him to be taken to the United States for treat­ment for a rare ge­netic con­di­tion.

But de­spite the in­ter­na­tional at­ten­tion brought by his case, he died ex­actly one week short of his first birth­day.

“Our beau­ti­ful lit­tle boy has gone. We are so proud of you, Char­lie,” his mother Yates said in a state­ment.

A court had or­dered that the 11-month-old should be moved from hos­pi­tal to a hos­pice, where his life sup­port was with­drawn.

Sup­port­ers around the world do­nated 1.35 mil­lion pounds ($1.75 mil­lion, 1.5 mil­lion eu­ros) via an on­line fundraiz­ing site to sup­port his par­ents and their ef­forts to keep their son alive, while 350,000 signed a pe­ti­tion de­mand­ing that he be al­lowed to re­ceive ex­per­i­men­tal treat­ment in the U.S.

Fol­low­ing news of the boy’s death, Pope Fran­cis, who sup­ported the cam­paign, tweeted: “I en­trust lit­tle Char­lie to the Fa­ther and pray for his par­ents and all those who loved him.”

Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May said she was “deeply sad­dened” by the death while U.S. Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence wrote he was: “Sad­dened to hear of the pass­ing of Char­lie Gard.”

Gard was born on Aug. 4 last year with a rare form of mi­to­chon­drial dis­ease that causes pro­gres­sive mus­cle weak­ness, in­clud­ing in key or­gans such as the heart.

He was ad­mit­ted to hos­pi­tal at eight weeks old and his con­di­tion pro­gres­sively de­te­ri­o­rated.

Gard’s par­ents fought a five-month le­gal bat­tle for him to be taken to the United States for ex­per­i­men­tal treat­ment.

They lost a se­ries of ap­peals in Bri­tish courts and the Euro­pean Court of Hu­man Rights in Stras­bourg.

Their cam­paign led to of­fers of help from the United States and the Vat­i­can, lead­ing the hos­pi­tal to ask the courts for a fi­nal as­sess­ment of any new ev­i­dence.

On July 2, Pope Fran­cis called for the cou­ple to be al­lowed to “care for their child un­til the end,” say­ing he had fol­lowed the case with “af­fec­tion and sad­ness.”

The fol­low­ing day, U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said in a tweet: “If we can help lit­tle Char­lie Gard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the pope, we would be de­lighted to do so.”

But the boy’s par­ents gave up their bat­tle last week, say­ing “time has run out,” af­ter they were shown scans in­di­cat­ing that his con­di­tion had de­te­ri­o­rated too far.

“We are so sorry that we could not save you,” they said in an emo­tional state­ment at the High Court in Lon­don.

Judge Ni­cholas Fran­cis summed up the emo­tion in­volved in the case.

AP-Yon­hap

This is an un­dated photo of sick 11-month old baby Char­lie Gard taken at Great Or­mond Street Hos­pi­tal in Lon­don.

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