The parents of terminally ill UK infant Charlie Gard were given just 48 hours to provide proof that an experimental American treatment will be beneficial to his mitochondrial depletion syndrome. The ruling was made by High Court judge Mr. Justice Francis during a hearing on Monday, during which 11-month-old Charlie Gard’s parents accused the Great Ormond Street Hospital (which is treating their son and has been for most of his life) of lying to the court.
As the Telegraph reported, both Connie Yates and Chris Gard were visibly upset and distressed during Monday’s hearing, even shouting out in open court as they argued against the validity of the Great Ormond Street Hospital’s testimony. At one point, Charlie’s mother Connie Yates implored the court to listen to herself, Charlie’s father and their legal team.
“He is our son. Please listen to us.”
In another instance, Chris Gard interrupted legal counsel for the Great Ormond Street Hospital with accusations that lying was taking place at the hearing.
“When are you going to start telling the truth? They are lying to you.”
When everything was said and done, Charlie’s father Chris even punched a wall in anger after leaving the hearing, which was widely seen as being a blow to the parents of Charlie Gard, who are seeking to transport their son to America for experimental treatment. The pair have raised over £1.3 million on GoFundMe to bring Charlie to the United States, but have faced innumerable legal hurdles in their effort to remove their child from Great Ormond Street Hospital.
In a series of courtroom battles which have dominated much of Charlie Gard’s young life, his parents have fought for the legal right to continue having their son treated in opposition to the recommendation of medical professionals. According to his doctors, Charlie’s mitochondrial depletion syndrome has resulted in profound and irreversible brain damage, blindness, deafness and an inability to breathe or eat on his own. Multiple courts, including the High Court and the European Court of Human Rights, have ruled that continuing to treat Charlie Gard is doing more harm than good, and that the baby should be allowed to “die with dignity.”
The European Court of Human rights ruled in favor of Great Ormond Street Hospital and the institution’s right to remove Charlie from life support against his parents’ wishes on June 27. According to the hospital, even an effective treatment of Charlie Gard’s syndrome would never reverse his brain damage and could not improve his quality of life.
It was initially reported that Charlie’s life support would be disconnected on June 30. However, his parents tearfully pleaded with the hospital to grant them “a few more days” with their son, and Great Ormond Street Hospital agreed. Since, Yates and Gard petitioned for and were granted a new High Court hearing in their son’s case.
In that Monday hearing, the parents of Charlie Gard were granted until 2 p.m. on Wednesday to provide new evidence to the court proving that the experimental U.S. treatment can benefit their son. Another hearing to go over that evidence has been scheduled for Thursday. Charlie Gard’s parents and their legal team, however, had asked the court for two weeks – not two days.
— Dan Bongino (@dbongino) July 9, 2017
No matter how you feel about #CharlieGard, bashing the wonderful people who look after the sickest children at GOSH is not on. STOP.
— Ranj Singh (@DrRanj) July 10, 2017
Am I wrong in thinking let the poor little soul go in peace ? X he's terminally ill , why torture him and yourselves .
— StevieNana71 (@akipan1971) July 10, 2017
Any news editors thought to look for American families like Charlie Gard's & how Trump is seeing them doing under US healthcare system?
— Samira Ahmed (@SamiraAhmedUK) July 10, 2017
Doctors from the Great Ormond Street Hosptial argued, and Mr. Justice Francis agreed, that two weeks was an inappropriate length of time given Charlie’s current medical condition. According to doctors, Charlie’s current medical treatment is “against his welfare.”
“Staff feel it is desperately unfair to Charlie… week after week knowing that every step they take for Charlie is against his welfare.”
In addition to giving the parents of Charlie Gard just 48 hours to provide substantive new evidence to the court, Mr. Justice Francis appeared to take a jab at Donald Trump in his Monday ruling. The Justice ruled back in February that Charlie Gard should be removed from life support and be allowed to die with dignity – and that moving him to a hospital overseas would only prolong his needless suffering. Donald Trump, however, took to Twitter just over a week ago to offer his “help” to Charlie Gard.
If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 3, 2017
During his Monday address to the High Court, Mr. Justice Francis seemed to take Trump to task for his meddling.
“If we can help little #CharlieGard… we would be delighted to do so. I have to decide this case not on the basis of tweets but on the basis of clear evidence…I understand parents will grasp at any possibility of hope.”
Charlie’s parents and legal team have unsuccessfully tried to have Mr. Justice Francis removed from their son’s case, arguing that he has already made up his mind. According to the justice and court, he remains that “best person” to decide if Chris Gard and Connie Yates actually provide “fresh evidence” that the experimental treatment in question can benefit Charlie Gard.
“You are going to have to persuade me that something new or dramatic has changed.”
According to Great Ormond Street Hospital, there is no “new evidence” in the case, but the institution’s legal team voluntarily come back to court after Charlie Gard’s lawyers threatened the hospital with a judicial review. Lawyer Katie Gollop QC had little positive to say about the claims of “new evidence” in the Charlie Gard case.
“Some of this new evidence that was said to be new is not new.”
Doctors claim that while Charlie’s body is growing, his brain is not – proof that he has suffered from catastrophic and incurable brain damage as a result of his condition. He cannot breathe without a ventilator, and is reportedly being dosed with morphine to ease “any pain” he may be suffering from.
The parents of Charlie Gard continue to argue that experimental treatment may improve his quality of life, despite the fact that the scientist behind the treatment (who has not been publicly identified for legal reasons) has claimed that the treatment should “ideally” be tested on mice before being given to Charlie, but that time constraints in his case mean that there isn’t time for “such a trial.”
[Featured Image by Connie Yates/GoFundMe]