Par­ents of ter­mi­nally-ill UK baby end le­gal fight

Kuwait Times - - NEWS -

The par­ents of Bri­tish baby Char­lie Gard yes­ter­day aban­doned their le­gal fight to take him to the United States for ex­per­i­men­tal treat­ment in a case that has at­tracted global at­ten­tion. A lawyer rep­re­sent­ing Gard’s par­ents Con­nie Yates and Chris Gard told judge Ni­cholas Fran­cis at Lon­don’s High Court that “time had run out” and that they had made their de­ci­sion af­ter see­ing the 11-month-old’s lat­est brain scans. “We have de­cided it is no longer in Char­lie’s best in­ter­ests to pur­sue treat­ment and we will let our son go,” fa­ther Chris Gard said out­side court.

“He had a real gen­uine chance of life. We are truly dev­as­tated. We are now go­ing to spend our last pre­cious mo­ments with our son, who un­for­tu­nately won’t make his first birth­day in just un­der two weeks’ time,” he added. Judge Fran­cis had been due to rule on whether there was enough new ev­i­dence to al­low the par­ents to take the baby, who suf­fers from a rare ge­netic dis­or­der, to the US for a type of treat­ment that has never been used on a hu­man be­ing.

Char­lie suf­fers from a rare form of mi­to­chon­drial dis­ease, which causes pro­gres­sive mus­cle weak­ness in the heart and other key or­gans. Bri­tish doc­tors be­lieve Gard’s brain dam­age is “se­vere and ir­re­versible” and have said the baby “may be suf­fer­ing”. Great Or­mond Street Hos­pi­tal ar­gued that Gard’s ill­ness has left him “de­prived of his senses” and that he is “with­out any aware­ness” as far as doc­tors can tell. “He has no qual­ity of life and no real prospect of any qual­ity of life,” the hos­pi­tal said.

But fa­ther Chris Gard crit­i­cized the au­thor­i­ties, say­ing “there is one sim­ple rea­son why treat­ment can­not now go ahead, and that is time”. “Had Char­lie been given the treat­ment sooner, he would have had the po­ten­tial to be a nor­mal, healthy lit­tle boy,” he said. “We will have to live with the what-ifs, that will haunt us for the rest of our lives. Our son is an ab­so­lute war­rior and we will miss him ter­ri­bly.”

The cou­ple fought a long le­gal fight to al­low them to take their child out of Lon­don’s Great Or­mond Street Hos­pi­tal (GOSH), but lost in both Bri­tain’s Supreme Court and the Euro­pean Court of Hu­man Rights in Stras­bourg. The rul­ing led to the in­ter­ven­tion of both US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Pope Fran­cis, who of­fered to help the baby, lead­ing to the hos­pi­tal to ask the courts for a fi­nal as­sess­ment of any new ev­i­dence.

The lat­est le­gal bat­tle saw new tes­ti­mony from a US neu­rol­o­gist, but a lawyer also warned the boy’s par­ents Con­nie Yates and Chris Gard that lat­est scans made “sad read­ing”. In re­sponse, Chris Gard shouted “evil”, while mother Con­nie burst into tears. With emo­tions run­ning high, the hos­pi­tal on Satur­day said that it had con­tacted po­lice over a “shock­ing and dis­grace­ful tide of hos­til­ity and dis­tur­bance. “Staff have re­ceived abuse both in the street and on­line,” it said.

Mother Con­nie re­sponded that “we do not, and have not ever, con­doned any threat­en­ing or abu­sive re­marks to­wards any staff mem­ber”, but added that they too had suf­fered “the most hurt­ful com­ments from the pub­lic”. Great Or­mond Street Hos­pi­tal said the par­ents “com­mand GOSH’s ut­most re­spect and hum­ble all who work there”.

Scores of sup­port­ers hold­ing blue bal­loons gath­ered out­side the court for yes­ter­day’s hear­ing, and re­acted to the news with anger, chant­ing: “shame on you judge” and “shame on GOSH”. The par­ents now want to es­tab­lish a foun­da­tion “for Char­lie’s voice to be heard,” ac­cord­ing to their lawyer Grant Arm­strong. Judge Fran­cis paid trib­ute to the par­ents “for the love and the care they gave to their child Char­lie”. “No par­ents could have done more for their child,” he said.

LON­DON: Un­dated hand­out photo of Chris Gard and Con­nie Yates with their son Char­lie Gard at Great Or­mond Street Hos­pi­tal.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.