Baby Charlie Gard is fighting for his life. He has a rare genetic condition as well as significant brain damage, and now the British government has ordered that the child be taken off life support. President Donald Trump stepped in and tweeted support for the 10-month-old baby’s cause.
Parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard have exhausted the available resources to keep their baby on life support at a hospital in England.
The European courts decided that little Charlie’s removal from life support was imminent. On Friday, June 30, the care he had been receiving was set to end at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. His parents were not even allowed to take him home to die, according to reports.
“We want to give him a bath at home, put him in a cot, which he has never slept in, but we are now being denied that. We know what day our son is going to die but don’t get a say in how that will happen,” Chris Gard said in a video that appeared on The Daily Mail’s website.
“If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so,” Trump tweeted July 3.
The child has a condition called mitochondrial depletion syndrome. He cannot breathe, eat, or move his limbs without assistance.
“To defend human life, above all when it is wounded by illness, is a duty of love that God entrusts to all,” Pope Francis tweeted on June 30.
Charlie’s parents wanted to take their son to the United States for a trial treatment, but the European courts did not allow it. The parents even raised enough money through private donations to fund the experimental medical care.
“After endlessly researching and speaking to [doctors] all over the world, we found hope in a medication that may help him, and a [doctor] in America has accepted him in his hospital,” Charlie’s parents wrote on a fundraising page. “It hasn’t been tried on anyone with his [genes] before … but it’s had success with another mitochondrial depletion syndrome called TK2, which is similar.”
The are only 16 known cases of this genetic condition worldwide.
The hospital in London said it could no longer do anything more to improve the baby’s life. The European Court of Human Rights made the final call on June 27 to end life support.
The child’s medical status as of right now is unclear. However, the baby’s case is one the world is watching — and it will have significant impact on the future of protecting life and the medical treatment of illnesses.
“The precedent established by Charlie Gard’s case will metastasize, as similar decisions have,” wrote Ian Tuttle in an op-ed for National Review on June 29. “It will be made to apply to children with more-familiar illnesses and better prognoses; it will be used to dismiss the input of parents whose values and priorities when it comes to medical care and end-of-life issues do not align with those of the state; it may be used simply to clear beds for ‘worthier’ patients in a health care system with very limited resources.”
The hearts of many are breaking for baby Charlie and his parents. This family needs a miracle right about now.