Courts – not Trump – must have fi­nal say in Char­lie Gard case

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

our chil­dren have. Un­able to breathe, see or swal­low for him­self, it is quite pos­si­ble he may never ut­ter a sin­gle word.

His doc­tors have ar­gued noth­ing can be done while his dis­tressed par­ents, Chris and Con­nie, are des­per­ate to take their son to the US for ex­per­i­men­tal treat­ment.

There is sym­pa­thy to be had for both sides in a case that would test the wis­dom of Solomon.

The courts, not only in the UK but in Europe too, have ruled Char­lie should be al­lowed to die with dig­nity, sid­ing with the doc­tors who be­lieve the untested US treat­ment would only add to his pain.

Last Fri­day, after Euro­pean Court of Hu­man Rights judges ruled the he shouldn’t go to the States, his life sup­port ma­chine was due to be switched off. Out of com­pas­sion, hos­pi­tal of­fi­cials de­layed the move to al­low Char­lie’s par­ents to say their good­byes.

But as they spent what was to be their fi­nal days with him, Don­ald Trump in­ter­vened, throw­ing the al­ready ago­nis­ing case into fur­ther tur­moil.

In 140 Twit­ter char­ac­ters, not only did he give a glim­mer of hope to Char­lie’s par­ents, but also sparked a diplo­matic dis­agree­ment that un­set­tled Down­ing Street and be­yond.

After pre­vi­ously at­tack­ing his pre­de­ces­sor Barack Obama for in­volv­ing him­self in the UK over Brexit, Trump threw him­self into the de­bate over Char­lie, ig­nor­ing the courts of our land.

He tweeted: “If we can help lit­tle Char­lie Gard, as per our friends in the UK and the Pope, we would be de­lighted to do so.”

The White House then chimed in say­ing: “The Pres­i­dent is just try­ing to be help­ful if at all pos­si­ble”.

But far from help­ing, Trump’s in­volve­ment has com­pounded an al­ready dis­tress­ing time for Char­lie’s par­ents.

Although his ac­tions were clearly well-in­ten­tioned, his bravado shows he be­lieves he is more im­por­tant than the UK and Euro­pean courts, which both de­ferred to the hos­pi­tal’s de­ci­sion.

The bold­ness, some may ar­gue ig­no­rance, of his move, comes as Trump’s re­forms on Amer­ica’s own health­care are in com­plete dis­ar­ray.

They in­clude ax­ing life-sav­ing health­care for mil­lions of US cit­i­zens as well as an or­der that al­lows states to with­hold fund­ing to Planned Par­ent­hood groups.

The un­hinged Pres­i­dent while sit­ting at his New Jer­sey golf club on Mon­day, surf­ing the in­ter­net for sub­jects to Tweet about, is clearly clue­less as to the med­i­cal is­sues and de­tailed ar­gu­ments in a heart­break­ing case. Par­ents un­der­stand why Char­lie’s par­ents are des­per­ate to try any­thing to pro­long their child’s life but par­ents also grasp why Great Or­mond Street Hos­pi­tal’s doc­tors fear an untested treat­ment would add to the child’s pain and be­lieve he should be al­lowed to die with dig­nity.

We must never for­get that caught in this clash over the rights of par­ents and doc­tors rep­re­sent­ing the public good is a des­per­ately sick baby.

But the US has the worst in­fant mor­tal­ity rate of any wealthy in­dus­tri­alised na­tion. Trump should start sav­ing Amer­i­can ba­bies in­stead of con­demn­ing more of his own to die.

The case of Char­lie Gard is heartrend­ing but we – and Trump – must trust the courts made the right choice.

Trump in­ter­vened – throw­ing the ago­nis­ing case into fur­ther tur­moil

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