In an excellent and stunning development, the hospital caring for baby Charlie Gard is now considering experimental treatment.
In a statement, the hospital explained:
Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children has today applied to the High Court for a fresh hearing in the case of Charlie Gard in light of claims of new evidence relating to potential treatment for his condition.
We have just met with Charlie’s parents to inform them of this decision and will continue to keep them fully appraised of the situation.
Two international hospitals and their researchers have communicated to us as late as the last 24 hours that they have fresh evidence about their proposed experimental treatment.
And we believe, in common with Charlie’s parents, it is right to explore this evidence.
Vatican children’s hospital in Rome and at least one U.S. hospital have offered to treat baby Charlie and administer an experimental treatment that could improve his condition.
Baby Charlie is an 11-month-old British boy who suffers from a life-threatening disease called mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. Baby Charlie was born on August 4, 2016, perfectly healthy. But two months after his birth, Baby Charlie’s health began to deteriorate. Since October 2016, Charlie has resided at Great Ormond Street Hospital where he currently is on life support in the intensive care unit. Until now, the hospital had decided, and the European courts have agreed, that it should end Baby Charlie’s treatment and take him off of life support, which would result in Baby Charlie’s death.
Baby Charlie’s parents have fought to regain custody over their baby in order to take him to the United States to see a specialist who can offer potentially life saving experimental treatment. In fact, the Gard family has raised over £1.3m to pay for the treatment and a hospital in the United States has even offered to treat Charlie for free. President Trump and Pope Francis have even come to the aid of the family tweeting support and offering to help in any way they can. Yet, in spite of all this, the courts have thus far continued to deny Baby Charlie the right to life and his parents the right to help their baby son.
When the hospital intervened and denied the parents’ custody over their baby, Baby Charlie’s parents went to court. The first court found for the hospital, declaring:
“The domestic courts concluded that it would be lawful for the hospital to withdraw life sustaining treatment because it was likely that Charlie would suffer significant harm if his present suffering was prolonged without any realistic prospect of improvement, and the experimental therapy would be of no effective benefit.”
The parents then appealed the ruling to an appellate court, which unfortunately agreed with the lower court’s ruling and decided that Baby Charlie would be taken off of life support on June 13th. Baby Charlie’s appeal to the United Kingdom Supreme Court was also unsuccessful.
In what appeared to be their last-ditch legal effort, the parents took Baby Charlie’s case to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), which granted an extension that would allow Charlie to remain on life support until July 10th. Ultimately, though, the ECHR then rejected the parents’ appeal.
Now however, the hospital itself has asked for a new hearing in order to present “fresh evidence” about the experimental treatment that several doctors and hospitals have been urging. This is a significant factual and legal development and a step in the right direction.
We are working with our international affiliate, the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), to advocate on Baby Charlie’s behalf. We will continue monitoring the situation and exploring new ways to help. We will help in any way we can. We have to. We must be Baby Charlie’s voice.
We ask that you stand with us and continue to keep the Gard family in your thoughts and prayers. Every life is precious. Every life deserves protection. Baby Charlie deserves to live.
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