Health

Parents of Baby on Life Support Lose Heartbreaking Battle

Charlie Gard suffers from rare genetic condition and brain damage — and can't get to U.S. for experimental treatment

The mother and father of a brain-damaged, 11-month-old baby on Friday were sitting bedside with the boy after losing a legal battle that would have kept the boy on life support.

The Wall Street Journal reported that doctors at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, who are caring for Charlie Gard, received permission from a court to discontinue life support.

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Charlie suffers from a rare genetic condition and brain damage. He is unable to breathe unaided. Earlier in the day, parents Chris Gard and Connie Yates said they had expected the hospital to end life support for Charlie on Friday.

But hours later, the hospital said in a statement that “together with Charlie’s parents we are putting plans in place for his care and to give them more time together as a family.”

Hospital officials also asked that the family and hospital staff be given “space and privacy at this distressing time.”

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It’s not clear how long life support will be continued for Charlie.

On Tuesday, the parents lost a bid to take Charlie to the U.S. for trial therapy when the European Court of Human Rights sided with earlier rulings that continued treatment would cause “significant harm” and that life support should end. Specialists have said the proposed therapy wouldn’t help Charlie.

Charlie was born in August. The Journal reported that he was diagnosed with infantile-onset encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome.

“His brain, muscle, and ability to breathe are all severely affected. In addition, he has congenital deafness and a severe epilepsy disorder,” a professor who specializes in mitochondrial diseases told the U.K. high court that heard the case.

The appeal was the last legal option in the couple’s four-month battle. After the final ruling, the hospital said there would be “no rush” to make any changes in Charlie’s medical care.

His parents had complained that the hospital wouldn’t allow Charlie to be brought home to die. The boy’s parents have released a video saying “we’re not allowed to choose if our son lives, and we’re not allowed to choose when or where Charlie dies.”

Related: Parents of Child with Rare Genetic Condition Fight for His Life

Charlie’s case has gained attention online, raising nearly $1.8 million on GoFundMe to send him to the U.S.

Yates has said previously that the funds will be used to support other children with similar genetic disorders should they lose their case.

“We are utterly heartbroken,” the parents wrote in a post on Facebook. “We and most importantly Charlie have been massively let down throughout this whole process.”

This Fox News piece is used by permission; the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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