UK court hearing begins for terminally ill baby
LONDON: A British court yesterday began re-examining the case of a terminally ill baby whose life support is due to be withdrawn at a London hospital, after Pope Francis and US Donald Trump intervened in the case. Great Ormond Street Hospital last week said it had received “claims of new evidence” that 11-monthold Charlie Gard could be treated for his disease and has asked a court to rule on how to proceed. Gard’s parents, who submitted a petition of over 350,000 signatures demanding that they be allowed to take him to the United States for treatment, attended the hearing at the High Court in London.
Pope Francis last week expressed his support for the baby’s parents and said he hoped doctors would allow them to “care for their child until the end”. Bambino Gesu, a Vatican-run hospital in Rome, has since offered to treat Gard and sent medical advice suggesting that treatment could be possible. Trump also waded into the debate last week, tweeting that the United States “would be delighted” to help. A US doctor has also proposed treatment for Gard. The British hospital on Friday said it stood by its opinion that Gard’s rare form of mitochondrial disease, which causes progressive muscle weakness in key organs such as the heart, was not treatable.
Doctors there believe Gard’s brain damage is “severe and irreversible” and have said the baby may be suffering, in contradiction to the parents’ views. But doctors said it was “right to explore” any new evidence and said they were seeking the court’s view. Gard’s parents have lost a series of appeals in British courts and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and had no further legal recourse. “He’s our son, he’s our flesh and blood. We feel that it should be our right as parents to decide to give him a chance,” his mother Connie Yates said on Sunday. “The whole world knows about us and about Charlie and our fight... Until you’re in this situation, you don’t understand the power of hope,” she said. —AFP
LONDON: Supporters of Charlie Gard hold up placards outside the High Court in central London yesterday. —AFP