Parents of Baby Held by UK Hospital: All We Want is to Take Our Baby for Treatment in U.S.A.

By Michael W. Chapman | July 13, 2017 | 11:50 AM EDT

Charlie Gard, at the Great Ormond

Street Hospital in London.

(Religion News Service.) 

(CNSNews.com) -- The parents of baby Charlie Gard, who suffers from a rare genetic disorder, said they have never asked the courts, the hospital, or anyone for anything and that all they want is "permisison to go" and allow their son to be treated by specialized doctors in the United States or Italy.  But the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where little Charlie is on a ventilator, will not allow his parents to take their child to those specialists. 

Charlie Gard is 11 months old and suffers from a genetic condition that attacks his muscles and internal organs; he is the 17th person in the world diagnosed with the illness, called mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. Because of the laws under the Britsh National Health Service, Charlie's parents are not allowed to take their son to other doctors unless the hospital doctors give permission. The parents, Christopher Gard and Connie Yates, have asked for permisison since November 2016 but the British hospital has refused. 

Christopher Gard, Connie Yates, and their son Charlie Gard.  (charliesfight.org) 

The Gard family has also battled in several courts to get their son released but the courts ruled against them. Today, July 13, the High Court in London, which previously ruled for the hospital, is reviewing new evidence about the experimental treatment being offered by at least seven mitochondrial DNA depletion experts. Two U.S. hospitals have agreed to accept Cahrlie Gard for treatment, as has the hospital at the Vatican. More than $1.6 million in provate donations has been raised to pay for the treatment. 

“We are continuing to spend every moment, working around the clock to save our dear baby Charlie," said his parents in a statement. "We’ve been requesting this specialized treatment since November, and never asked the hospital, Courts or anyone for anything – except for the permission to go."

"We’ve raised over £1.2 Million [$1.6 million] and have had invitations from specialized Doctors in the U.S. and Italy offer their ground-breaking treatment to us and are confident they can help little Charlie," said Christopher Gard and Connie Yates.  "We will continue to make the case for us to seek treatment for Charlie with Doctors that are actually specialized in Mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, and we hope the Judge and the Courts will finally rule in favor of us seeking treatment elsewhere."

"We love him more than life itself," they said.  "If he’s still fighting, then we’re still fighting.”

One of the pro-life groups helping the Gards in London is Americans United for Life (AUL). Commenting on the case, AUL CEO Catherine Glenn Foster said,  “The medical evidence is consistently clear that Charlie deserves a chance at life. There is much misinformation about Charlie’s condition but he shows no signs of being in pain and experts say that alternative treatment has a chance of improving Charlie’s quality of life."

"It is unacceptable that Charlie’s parents are being asked to prove that their son’s life is still worth fighting for when it is their right as parents to pursue what they consider best for Charlie," said Foster. “We have letters and invitations from Doctors and specialists from around the world, and medical evidence that shows that Charlie could greatly benefit from this ground-breaking treatment. Charlie’s parents have been seeking this treatment since November – it is now July – time is of the essence.”

(Photo: BOA-consultancy.co.uk) 

Foster further explained there is evidence that with the drug that could be administered to Charlie, there is "up to a 10%, and around 90-100% chance the medicine will cross the blood brain barrier," which is relevant to assessing the claims of brain damage. 

"This is a chance that Charlie’s parents and many doctors and specialists around the world are willing to take," said Foster. "All we’re asking is that the Judge and the Court give Charlie this chance.”

The High Court in London is expected to render its ruling on the new evidence today or Friday, July 14.

Michael W. Chapman
Michael W. Chapman
Michael W. Chapman