On Monday, the parents of Charlie Gard, a terminally ill baby being treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, announced that they were ending their fight to bring Charlie to the US for experimental treatment.
The Associated Press reports that Chris Gard and Connie Yates have decided that Charlie’s rare genetic mitochondrial condition has progressed too far for the nucleoside treatment to have any effect. They’ve withdrawn their legal challenge against GOSH, implicating the extended courtroom battles for Charlie’s condition:
The couple said they had wanted to give Charlie a real chance of getting better and that a “whole lot of time has been wasted.” Yates says she hoped that Charlie’s life would not be in vain.
According to the Guardian, the couple’s lawyer, Grant Armstrong, agrees:
“For Charlie, it’s too late, time has run out, irreversible muscular damage has been done and the treatment can no longer be a success.”
He said the parents had made “the most painful of decisions, that only parents can make.”
Armstrong said: “Charlie has waited patiently for treatment. Due to delay, that window of opportunity has been lost.”
The couple felt that continuing their fight would cause Charlie pain, he said. The case was “worthy of a Greek tragedy”.
Charlie’s parents apparently decided they would be ending their court case on Friday, but wanted to spend the weekend with their son before making an announcement that would draw even more media attention. Charlie’s case has been receiving international attention, even attracting comments from the Pope and Donald Trump.
Though multiple courts upheld the decision that Charlie should be removed from life support before this final appeal, the hospital has been maligned and staff have received death threats and harassment. Charlie’s parents condemned the hateful rhetoric being directed at GOSH, but on Sunday a protest gathered outside the hospital, The Washington Post reports:
“In recent weeks the community has been subjected to a shocking and disgraceful tide of hostility and disturbance,” the Great Ormond Street Hospital said in a statement.
“Staff have received abuse both in the street and online. Thousands of abusive messages have been sent to doctors and nurses whose life’s work is to care for sick children.”
GOSH has long maintained that Charlie’s brain damage is irreversible, though his parents disagree. The purveyor of nucleoside treatment, Dr. Michia Hirano, had given a conservative estimate of it having a 10% chance of success, but once he flew to the UK to examine the baby, he announced the treatment would not be viable considering Charlie’s advanced condition.
Judge Francis accepted the parents’ decision, praising them for the love and care they’ve showed Charlie. He also took a moment to express his disappointment in the reaction to their case:
“A lot of things have been said by those who know almost nothing about this case but feel entitled to express opinions,” said Francis.