Baby Charlie Gard has died, family spokesman says
LONDON (AP) – Charlie Gard, the British terminally ill baby at the center of a legal and ethical battle, which drew the attention of Francis and US President Donald Trump, died Friday. It was such a shy week of his first birthday.
Charlie’s parents have fought for the right to take him to the United States for experimental medical treatment for rare genetic disease, the mitochondrial depletion syndrome, which left him brain damaged and unable to breathe without assistance. His case ended in court when doctors opposed the plan, saying untested therapy would not have helped Charlie and could make him suffer.
A family spokesman, Alison Smith-Escudero, confirmed Charlie died Friday, a day after a judge ordered him to be removed from a ventilator at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London and taken to an undisclosed hospital for his final hours.
“Our beautiful little boy is gone, we are very proud of him,” said his mother Connie Yates in a statement.
Charlie was apparently healthy at birth, but soon began to weaken. He was admitted to Great Ormond Street, the first hospital for British children, when he was two months old and remained there until the end of his life.
His legal case has become a hotbed for the debate on the rights of children and parents, health care financing, medical procedures, hospital and medical responsibilities, and the role of the state. It gained international attention last month when Francis and Trump’s president expressed their support for Charlie and his family.
The intervention of two of the most powerful men in the world has made the case a global perspective of the discussion. Images of Charlie clung to a tube while he slept soundly on an elegant website, newspapers and TV shows.
The Pope responded quickly to the news of Charlie’s death, Twitter on Friday night, “I entrust little Charlie to the Father and pray for his parents and all those who loved him.”
US Vice President Mike Pence Twitter: “It’s sad to hear about the death of Charlie Gard Karen and I offer our prayers and condolences to your dear parents during this difficult time.”
Charlie’s parents have collected more than 1.3 million pounds ($ 1.7 million) to pay for the experimental treatment they believe may extend their life. However, British courts have consistently accepted the position of the hospital, saying that it was in the best interest of Charlie could die.
After months of legal battles, Supreme Court Judge Nicholas Francis ruled Thursday that Charlie had to be transferred to a hospice and withdrew his support for life after his parents and the hospital would not be accepted at the end of the Plan of care of the life.
Under British law, it is common for courts to intervene when parents and doctors disagree on the treatment of a child.
In such cases, the rights of children prevail over the right of parents to decide what is best for their children. The principle applies even in cases where parents have another point of view, for example, when religious beliefs prohibit blood transfusions.