Par­ents ask to take dy­ing baby home

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - INTERNATIONAL - JILL LAW­LESS In­for­ma­tion for this ar­ti­cle was con­trib­uted by Dan­ica Kirka, Leonore Schick and Frances D’Emilio of The As­so­ci­ated Press.

LON­DON — Char­lie Gard’s mother re­turned to Lon­don’s High Court on Tues­day to ask a judge to let her and the baby’s father take their crit­i­cally ill son home to die, but the day ended with­out a res­o­lu­tion to the re­quest.

Af­ter months of court hear­ings over the 11-mon­thold boy’s fate that drew at­ten­tion from Pope Fran­cis, U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and peo­ple around the world, dis­cus­sion came down to the de­tails of end­ing a life: How could Char­lie be trans­ported from a hos­pi­tal to his par­ents’ west Lon­don home? Could ven­ti­la­tion be main­tained on the way? Would his ven­ti­la­tor fit through the front door of the house?

“The par­ents’ last wish is to take Char­lie home for a few days of tran­quil­ity out­side the hos­pi­tal,” fam­ily lawyer Grant Arm­strong said in a writ­ten state­ment.

Arm­strong ac­cused Lon­don’s Great Or­mond Street Hos­pi­tal, where Char­lie is be­ing treated, of putting ob­sta­cles in the way of that out­come.

The hos­pi­tal’s lawyer, Katie Gol­lop, said Great Or­mond Street wanted “above all” to ful­fill the par­ents’ last wish, but also had to take the baby’s best in­ter­ests into ac­count.

“The care plan must be safe. It must spare Char­lie all pain and pro­tect his dig­nity,” she said.

The hos­pi­tal said Char­lie would be able to die with dig­nity, sur­rounded by his fam­ily, in a hospice. Arm­strong said Char­lie’s par­ents regarded that as the sec­ond-best op­tion, “a notch bet­ter” than the hos­pi­tal.

Judge Ni­cholas Fran­cis, who has presided over the case for months, said the sen­si­tive is­sues cried out “for mediation” — not for the rul­ing of a judge. But so far, at­tempts to find agree­ment have failed.

At the end of a hear­ing at­tended by Char­lie’s mother, Con­nie Yates, Fran­cis said he felt that a hospice, rather than the fam­ily home, would be best. The judge said he would make his fi­nal rul­ing to­day.

“I don’t think it’s fair to pro­long their suf­fer­ing any longer,” he said.

Char­lie suf­fers from mi­to­chon­drial de­ple­tion syn­drome, a rare ge­netic dis­ease. He has brain dam­age and is un­able to breathe un­aided.

His par­ents — Yates and her part­ner Chris Gard — have bat­tled for months to bring Char­lie to the United States for an ex­per­i­men­tal treat­ment they be­lieved would im­prove his con­di­tion. Doc­tors at Great Or­mond Street op­posed that, say­ing it would not help and could cause Char­lie more suf­fer­ing.

Bri­tish courts and the Euro­pean Court of Hu­man Rights have sided with Great Or­mond Street, one of the world’s lead­ing chil­dren’s hospitals, in its bid to re­move life sup­port and let Char­lie die nat­u­rally.

U.S.-based ac­tivists flew to Lon­don to sup­port Char­lie’s par­ents, and the case be­came a flash point for op­pos­ing views on health care fund­ing, med­i­cal in­ter­ven­tion, the role of the state and the rights of the child.

Some com­men­ta­tors por­trayed the case as a clash be­tween fam­ily and the state, and U.S. con­ser­va­tives used it to crit­i­cize Bri­tain’s gov­ern­ment-funded health care sys­tem.

The com­men­tary led the judge to crit­i­cize the ef­fects of so­cial me­dia and those “who know al­most noth­ing about this case but who feel en­ti­tled to ex­press opin­ions.”

At its heart, the case pit­ted the right of par­ents to de­cide what’s best for their chil­dren against the au­thor­i­ties’ re­spon­si­bil­ity to up­hold the rights of peo­ple who can’t speak for them­selves. Un­der Bri­tish law, chil­dren have rights in­de­pen­dent of their par­ents, and it is typ­i­cal for courts to in­ter­vene when par­ents and doc­tors dis­agree on the treat­ment of a child.

On Mon­day, Char­lie’s par­ents aban­doned their bat­tle for treat­ment, say­ing that time had run out and the pro­posed ther­apy would no longer be ef­fec­tive be­cause Char­lie had se­vere and ir­re­versible mus­cu­lar dam­age.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.