The Supreme Court in London has ordered Great Ormond Street Hospital to continue providing life-support to 10-month-old Charlie Gard. Charlie has been on life-support since becoming ill two months ago due to the extremely rare RRM2B mitochondrial depletion syndrome no one knew he had. While his parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, worked to save him and found an experimental treatment that has the potential to save his life and a doctor who is willing to try it, Great Ormond Street Hospital, where Charlie is being treated, began fighting to end Charlie’s life by withdrawing life-support.
Though the family lives in London and the treatment that could save Charlie is in the United States, his parents successfully raised £1,308,640 to date and are ready to get him the help he needs. However, a court ruled in favor of the hospital and since then Charlie has remained on life-support while his parents continue to appeal the decision. His parents lost appeals in the High Court, the Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court in London. Now they are hoping the European Court of Human Rights will help them take a shot at saving their son.
Up for debate in this legal battle is whether or not parents should have the right to get their child the medical treatment they want for him. When a child is placed in the hospital, is it up for doctors to decide how to proceed, or parents?
Doctors are arguing that the experimental treatment is just that – experimental – and it won’t help Charlie. They say he is unable to see or hear and is suffering. Doctors say that because of the brain damage he has suffered, he should die. Charlie’s parents disagree.
“We have been with Charlie day in, day out and watched our poor baby get weaker and weaker, now he needs a ventilator to breathe but we have never lost hope throughout all this time,” Yates wrote on the family’s GoFundMe page. “After endlessly researching and speaking to Dr’s all over the world we found hope in a medication that may help him and a Dr in America has accepted him in his hospital.”
While Charlie’s parents know that the experimental treatment may not work, they want their child to have every chance possible and say that even if it doesn’t save Charlie’s life, their participation may help save other children’s lives in the future.
“We just want to have our chance. It would never be a cure but it could help him live. If it saves him, amazing. I want to save others. Even if Charlie doesn’t make it through this, I don’t ever want another mum and their child to go through this,” Yates told BBC.
Recently the family was gifted with a surprise picnic on the hospital roof by the nurses who care for Charlie.
“Charlie was awake the whole time,” Yates told the Daily Mail. “It was wonderful for him to feel the sun on his face and the wind in his hair. We put on some music and Chris and I lay down next to Charlie. For the first time in months we felt like a normal family.”
The family feels “let down” by the justice system saying that since the doctor in the United States believes the treatment could work for Charlie they don’t understand why the court would stop them from trying to save their son.
The hospital has been ordered to keep Charlie on life-support until midnight on July 10, 2017 pending the hearing at the European Court of Human Rights which has said the case is a “priority” and will be treated with “the utmost urgency.”