Despite big offers, little has changed for baby Charlie Gard

Art's son suffers from a similar condition to Charlie's
Art's son suffers from a similar condition to Charlie's
Author

04 July, 2017

Charlie has been the subject of a lengthy legal battle after Great Ormond Street Hospital doctors proposed switching off his life support machine.

An unnamed United States hospital today offered to treat 10-month-old terminally ill Charlie Gard for free, after President Donald Trump said he would be "delighted" to help the baby and his parents Chris Gard and Connie Yates.

On Sunday, Pope Francis called for the parents of the baby, who is in a hospital in London, to be allowed to "accompany and treat their child until the end".

Chris Gard and Connie Yates were spending time with their son before his life-support is turned off.

Reports of the offer of treatment came after a spokeswoman for the White House said that members of the Administration have spoken to the family, adding: 'The president is just trying to be helpful if at all possible'.

The little boy has been at the centre of a lengthy legal battle between his parents, who wanted him to undergo a therapy trial in the U.S., and specialists at the hospital who said the treatment was experimental and would not help.

Mariella Enoc, president of the Vatican's Bambino Gesu Children's Hospital, released a statement asking the director of the London hospital, where Charlie is staying, "to verify whether the health conditions exist to possibly transfer Charlie to our hospital".

Born in August, Charlie has mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome.

Charlie's doctors have said he is in "continued pain, suffering and distress" and that the experimental treatment in the United States would "continue to cause significant harm" with little benefit.

The Vatican children's hospital is studying whether it can take Charlie in.

Charlie's parents, both in their 30s and from Bedfont, west London, had asked European court judges in Strasbourg, France, to consider their case after judges in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in London ruled in favour of GOSH doctors.

"We know that the case is desperate and that as far as we know there aren't effective treatments, but defending human life, above all when harmed by sickness, is a commitment of love that God entrusts to all of us", Enoc said, echoing a papal tweet last week.

The courts had ruled that keeping the baby on life support would only prolong his suffering as there was no hope of his recovering from the disease which causes progressive muscle weakness, including in key organs such as the heart.

"This was a decision about what is best for this child", said Claire Fenton-Glynn, an academic at the University of Cambridge who studies children's rights.

They said they had been denied their final wish to be able to take their son home to die and felt "let down" after losing their legal fight. "It's a terrible thing to have to decide".


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