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Parents of Charlie Gard withdraw request to take their son to US for treatment

24 July 2017 2:37 PM
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Parents of Charlie Gard withdraw request to take their son to US for treatment

Opinion Journal: The Charlie Gard Warning3:02

Former White House Speechwriter Bill McGurn on the immorality of socialized medicine. Photo Credit: Associated Press.

Connie Yates, the mother of critically ill baby Charlie Gard, said making the decision to withdraw the request was the hardest thing they had ever had to do. Picture: AP Photo/Matt Dunham.

THE parents of critically ill baby Charlie Gard have dropped their legal bid to send him to the United States for experimental treatment after seeing his latest brain scans.

Lawyer Grant Armstrong told a UK court on Monday Chris Gard and Connie Yates would withdraw their appeal to court orders saying Charlie’s treatment should end.

“It is no longer in Charlie’s best interest to pursue this course of treatment,” he said.

“Charlie has suffered severe muscular atrophy” and “the damage to his muscles was irreversible.”

Mum Connie Yates told the court the decision was the “hardest thing we’ve ever had to do.”

“We’ve decided to let our son go ... he’s not braindead but a whole lot of time has been wasted.”

The Charlie’s Fight campaign thanked people for their “unwavering support” during the legal battle that has lasted for more than three months.

The heartbroken couple has been fighting successive court rulings saying their son’s life support should be withdrawn.

Judge Nicholas Francis had been due to rule on whether the child should be allowed to be taken to the US for an experimental treatment.

The hearing had come after last minute evidence from a US hospital suggested that the treatment could improve Charlie’s quality of life.

British doctors believe Gard’s brain damage is “severe and irreversible” and have said the baby “may be suffering”.

The high-profile case had attracted international support from both President Trump and the Pope, with supporters calling themselves “Charlie’s Army” and attending the court each day.

However the courts have previously sided with medical experts who believed that moving Charlie for further treatment would simply prolong his suffering.

On Saturday, Chair of Great Ormond Street Hospital, Mary MacLeod, said the hospital had contacted police about the “shocking and disgraceful tide of hostility and disturbance” staff had suffered in relation to the case.

“Staff have received abuse both in the street and online,” she said. “Thousands of abusive messages have been sent to doctors and nurses whose life’s work is to care for sick children.

“Many of these messages are menacing, including death threats. Families have been harassed and discomforted while visiting their children, and we have received complaints of unacceptable behaviour even within the hospital itself.”


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