On August 4th of last year, Charlie Guard was born as a perfectly healthy baby of parents Chris Gard and Connie Yates, both from Bedfont in West London. In September, at 8 weeks old, Charlie was taken to the hospital after he began losing weight and strength. He was diagnosed as having mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital. The disease causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage. Charlie is only the 16th person in the world ever to have been diagnosed with this disease.
In January of this year, Charlie’s mother set up a funding page after finding an American doctor who was willing to offer Charlie a trial therapy known as nucleocide.
In April, Charlie’s parents had raised their initial 1.2 million pounds, the day before a high court hearing began in their son’s case. The cash would pay for Charlie’s travel by air ambulance to America as well as cover the cost of the experimental treatment.
On April 3rd, a high court judge began to consider whether Charlie’s life support machine should be turned off or whether his parents should be allowed to take Charlie to America for experimental treatment. During the hearing, the court heard from Charlie’s parents as well as the American doctor who offered the trial therapy.
On April 11th, the parents described themselves as devastated after a high court judge ruled that physicians at the Great Ormond Street Hospital can turn off Charlie’s life support against the wishes of his parents. The judge claimed he made the decision with the heaviest of hearts but with complete conviction, believing the decision is in Charlie’s best interest.
April 15–Connie said that the judge’s decision means that her parental rights have been stripped away by strangers.
May 25–3 judges at the Court of Appeals uphold the ruling of the High Court that Charlie’s life support treatment should end.
June 8–3 Supreme Court justices dismiss another challenge by Charlie’s parents meaning that all UK legal avenues have been exhausted. The Great Ormond Street Hospital is told to keep Charlie on life support for another 24 hours so that the European Court of Human Rights can consider the case.
June 13–Judges at the ECHR rule that Charlie should be kept on life support until
June 19th, giving lawyers for his parents time to submit detailed legal arguments.
June 19–Doctors are told by the Supreme Court to continue Charlie’s life support for another 3 weeks in order to give the European court time to analyze the case.
June 27—The last legal avenue for Charlie’s parents closes as the ECHR rejects their plea to intervene and endorses the position of Britain’s courts. The Great Ormond Street Hospital promises to provide every possible support to the parents and say they will be in no rush to change Charlie’s care.
Exactly why is the UK court system denying Charlie’s parents the medical treatment they’re seeking for him? How can the hospital make claims to offer every possible support in one instance, while also denying him possible life saving treatment? Does this have anything to do with government health care?
Find out more details, as well as what listeners had to say, when you review this important Crosstalk broadcast.
To intercede on behalf of Charlie Gard, use the following numbers and Internet addresses:
–The British Embassy in Washington D.C.–202-588-6500
–The Department of State–202-647-2441
–The Great Ormond Street Hospital–www.gosh.nhs.uk
–The Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity–www.gosh.org