Parents of Terminally Ill Baby Have 48 Hours to Find Evidence Experimental Treatment Could Help

Image via AP.

Charlie Gard is a terminally ill baby who cannot see or hear
with significant brain damage that keeps him from breathing,
eating or moving on his own. Charlie’s parents have been forbidden from taking him to the
US for experimental treatment, based on evidence from the
hospital and doctors, a decision upheld by the European court
of human rights. Now, after interference fro the Pope and Donald Trump, his case is being
reopened.

The Guardian reports that on Monday,
Charlie’s parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, were given 48
hours to produce “drastic new evidence” that sending him to the
US would help Charlie. The court will reconvene to hear the
evidence on Thursday.

Justice Nicholas Francis, who rejected the parents’ requests to
move Charlie in April, says he would be “delighted” to change
his mind, but added, “I have to decide this case not on the
basis of tweets, not on the basis of what might be said in the
press, or to the press.”

The Great Ormond Street Hospital applied for the new hearing
after receiving a letter signed by seven doctors from the
Vatican children’s hospital asking them to reconsider, and a
letter from the family’s solicitor.

Charlie’s condition is caused by a rare genetic mitochondrial
condition, and a US doctor performing “nucleoside treatment”
has said there is a 10% chance of it working on Charlie, at a
conservative estimate. This will, of course, not cure or
reverse the brain damage his condition has already caused him
to suffer.

Meanwhile, two US Republicans, Reps. Brad Wenstrup (OH) and
Trent Franks (AZ), have proposed giving Gard permanent
residency in the US for his treatment. Both are in favor of the
Republican health care bill that would strip insurance from
millions of American
citizens.

“Only the family, the doctors treating Charlie, and now the
legal teams involved, know the details of complex issues that
define his situation,” said Dr. Neena Modi,
president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health,
in a statement to CNN. “These issues—unknown to us and all
those voicing opinions—will have been considered very carefully
in reaching any decision. This is why interventions by external
agencies or individuals, no matter how well-intended, are
unhelpful.”

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