Baby Charlie Gard still cannot travel to the United States for medical treatment, a European judge has ruled.
As part of their fierce battle within the U.K. court system, Gard’s parents have tried to bring their 11-month-old son from England to the U.S. to receive an experimental treatment for a rare genetic condition.
Judges previously ruled the baby must stay in England. Hospital staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where the child is currently being treated, wish to end young Gard’s life support. But his parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, want to continue treatment options for the child in the desperate hope of extending his life and giving him every chance possible for recovery and good health.
The parents appeared in court Friday to discuss the options.
The U.S. Congress even approved a measure to allow baby Gard and his parents permanent residency in the U.S. in the hope of making access to experimental treatment easier. A New York-based doctor examined Charlie in London this week to explore options for therapy.
British High Court Justice Nicholas Francis declared that the parents cannot take their son abroad without a court order, according to various media reports.
Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.), offered the amendment in Congress to get U.S. residency for Charlie Gard. Herrera Beutler’s own daughter was born without kidneys — but survived with the help of experimental treatment. Her baby had a 100 percent fatality rate, and doctors thought the child would die.
“Parents have the most at stake when it comes to standing up for their children, and right now, we have an incredible opportunity to stand with a family and save a child’s life,” the lawmaker said in a statement this week.
The European Court of Human Rights previously ruled the London children’s hospital could take the baby off life support. The hospital requested a new hearing in light of new evidence related to the child’s condition.
“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,” Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children said in a July 13 statement. “And we believe, in common with Charlie’s parents, it is right to explore this evidence.”
The baby’s condition has left him with brain damage and weakened muscles. He needs assistance to breathe, eat and move.
Dr. Michio Hirano of Columbia University in New York City took a scan of the child’s brain earlier this week. Hirano is developing a nucleoside bypass therapy used to treat patients who suffer from the same mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome as Charlie Gard.
Hirano testified his treatment could improve the child’s life by up to 50 percent.
“Our gorgeous baby boy is still stable,” mom Connie Yates, 31, said earlier this week. “We are at his bedside and feel satisfied he is not suffering or in any pain. As Charlie’s loving parents, we are doing the right thing for our son in exploring all treatment options.”
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