Life&Culture

Charlie Gard ruling: key questions and answers from the High Court case

Charlie Gard ruling: key questions and answers from the High Court case

The tragic case of eight-month-old Charlie Gard must touch the heart of anyone with an ounce of compassion in their body, after a judge ruled that doctors could stop life support treatment for the gravely ill baby against the wishes of his parents.

There was a scream of "no" in the court as the decision was announced by Mr Justice Frances, who had analysed evidence over three days and visited the child in hospital.

The judge who ruled against further treatment, Mr Justice Francis, told the court that he did so "with the heaviest of hearts" but with the conviction that it was the right decision.

Baby Charlie Gard has a rare form of mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, a deadly disease where a decrease in mitochrondrial DNA inside the body's tissues means sufferers don't get energy to their muscles, kidneys and brain.

It comes after Charlie's parents said the youngster should be sent to the USA for experimental treatment that could extend his life.

"What parents would not do the same?"

Specialists at Great Ormond Sreet Hospital said that Charlie had irreversible brain damage and should be moved to palliative care.

'We won't give up on him because he has a rare disease.

The family's lawyer, Ms Laura Hobey-Hamsher, said they were "devastated" by the court's decision and would consider appealing.

Barrister Victoria Butler-Cole, who was instructed by a guardian appointed by the judge to independently represent Charlie's interests, also said doctors should stop providing life-support treatment.

Charlie's parents raised more than £1.2mn over two months through an appeal on a GoFundMe website for the U.S. treatment after more than 80,000 people pledged money.

They reached their target on Sunday, after more than 80,000 people donated.

They want him to be moved to palliative care and had asked the judge to rule that it is legal to withdraw life-support treatment, BBC reported.

Justice Francis continued: "Most importantly of all, I want to thank Charlie's parents for their fearless and dignified campaign on his behalf, but more than anything to pay tribute to their absolute dedication to their wonderful boy, from the day that he was born".

The parents' representative said that they would be taking their time considering their next steps, but their first priority right now is spending time with Charlie.

It said, in part: "We love you".

She added: "Connie and Chris want me to make clear how profoundly grateful they are for all of the help and generosity they have received throughout this time".

A spokesperson for GoFundMe said the crowd-funding platform would speak privately to the family about what they wanted to do.


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