BRITISH BABY CHARLIE GARD DIES
LONDON» Charlie Gard, the terminally ill British baby at the center of a legal and ethical battle that attracted the attention of Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump, died Friday. He was one week shy of his first birthday.
Charlie’s parents fought for the right to take him to the United States for an experimental medical treatment for his rare genetic disease, mitochondrial depletion syndrome, which left him brain damaged and unable to breathe unaided. His case ended up in the courts when doctors opposed the plan, saying the untested therapy wouldn’t help Charlie and might cause him to suffer.
A family spokeswoman, Alison Smith-Squire, confirmed Charlie’s death on Friday, a day after a judge ordered that he be taken off a ventilator at the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London and moved to an undisclosed hospice.
“Our beautiful little boy has gone. We’re so proud of him,” his mother, Connie Yates, said in a statement.
Charlie was seemingly healthy at birth but soon began to weaken.
Under British law, the courts commonly intervene when parents and doctors disagree on treatment for a child. The rights of the child take primacy over the parents’ right to decide what’s best for their offspring. The principle applies even when parents have an alternative point of view, such as religious beliefs that prohibit blood transfusions. The case made it to Britain’s Supreme Court as Charlie’s parents refused to accept earlier rulings.
The case caught the attention of Trump and the pope in late June after the European Court of Human Rights refused to intervene.
Eleven-month-old Charlie Gard.