US doc, spe­cial­ists treat­ing baby meet

Ter­mi­nally ill man in court

Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

LON­DON, July 17, (Agen­cies): An Amer­i­can doc­tor spe­cial­iz­ing in treat­ing rare ge­netic con­di­tions is meet­ing with other spe­cial­ists treat­ing Char­lie Gard, as­sess­ing the crit­i­cally ill 11-month-old for the first time.

Dr Mi­chio Hi­rano of Columbia Univer­sity is talk­ing with doc­tors from Great Or­mond Street Hos­pi­tal and the child’s mother, Con­nie Yates, on Mon­day and Tues­day.

The hos­pi­tal gave Hi­rano an hon­orary con­tract, which gives him the same sta­tus as its own physi­cians. Un­der the ar­range­ment, Hi­rano and an­other doc­tor, whose name is pro­tected by court or­der, will be al­lowed to ex­am­ine Char­lie and have ac­cess to his med­i­cal records and hos­pi­tal fa­cil­i­ties.

The par­ents have fought in court for per­mis­sion to take the child to the United States for treat­ment. Doc­tors at Great Or­mond Street Hos­pi­tal ar­gue that a new treat­ment won’t help and could make the child suf­fer.

Char­lie suf­fers from mi­to­chon­drial de­ple­tion syn­drome, a rare ge­netic dis­ease that has left him brain-dam­aged and un­able to breathe un­aided.

Hi­rano’s visit was or­ga­nized dur­ing a court hear­ing last week af­ter he tes­ti­fied the treat­ment was worth a try.

The case has gained global at­ten­tion af­ter in­ter­ven­tions by US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Pope Fran­cis, who both voiced sup­port for 11-month-old Char­lie on Twit­ter. It has prompted a heated de­bate about whether the hos­pi­tal treat­ing the child or his par­ents should de­ter­mine his fate.

Char­lie’s par­ents, Con­nie Yates and Chris Gard, have been fight­ing a le­gal bat­tle to send their son to the United States to un­dergo Hi­rano’s ex­per­i­men­tal ther­apy.

Lon­don’s High Court, the Court of Ap­peal and Bri­tain’s Supreme Court have backed the hos­pi­tal, a de­ci­sion also sup­ported by the Euro­pean Court of Hu­man Rights.

But last week, the case re­turned to the High Court af­ter the hos­pi­tal asked for a new hear­ing to con­sider new ev­i­dence from Hi­rano.

The US neu­rol­o­gist said re­ports of brain scans sug­gested that Char­lie had brain dis­or­der rather than struc­tural dam­age. He said the bet­ter mus­cu­lar strength would al­low a bet­ter as­sess­ment of his brain con­di­tion.

“In my view my keep­ing Char­lie on ar­ti­fi­cial ven­ti­la­tion will not cause sig­nif­i­cant harm be­cause he does not seem to be in pain,” he said.




A Bri­tish man who is ter­mi­nally ill with mo­tor neu­ron dis­ease is ask­ing the High Court to let him end his life.

Noel Con­way is go­ing to court Mon­day to chal­lenge a ban on as­sisted sui­cide, ar­gu­ing it is in­com­pat­i­ble with hu­man rights pro­tec­tions.

Con­way was di­ag­nosed with the de­gen­er­a­tive con­di­tion in 2014 and is ex­pected to die within a year.

He wishes to be able to en­list as­sis­tance to bring about a “peace­ful and dig­ni­fied” death at a time of his choos­ing.

A pre­vi­ous chal­lenge to Bri­tain’s ban on as­sisted dy­ing by an­other man was re­jected in 2014 by the Supreme Court. The court said Par­lia­ment should de­bate the is­sues be­fore any de­ci­sion was made by the courts.

Law­mak­ers have so far de­clined to change the 1961 Sui­cide Act.

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