Tuesday 17 October 2017

Judges rule terminally-ill baby Charlie Gard should continue to be treated while they consider his case

Doctors can withdraw life-support treatment from the baby with a rare genetic condition against his parents' wishes, a High Court judge has ruled
Doctors can withdraw life-support treatment from the baby with a rare genetic condition against his parents' wishes, a High Court judge has ruled

Brian Farmer

Judges in the European Court of Human Rights say doctors should keep treating a terminally-ill baby at the centre a life-support treatment dispute while they continue to consider the case.

Chris Gard and Connie Yates, who are in their 30s and come from Bedfont, west London, want their 10-month-old son Charlie Gard, who suffers from a rare genetic condition and has brain damage, to undergo a therapy trial in the US.

They have asked European Court judges in Strasbourg, France, to examine issues after exhausting all legal options in the UK.

Strasbourg judges said on Tuesday that doctors should keep treating Charlie until midnight on Monday June 19.

Chris Gard and Connie Yates with their son Charlie Gard
Chris Gard and Connie Yates with their son Charlie Gard

Specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where Charlie is being cared for, say therapy proposed by a doctor in the US is experimental and will not help.

They say life support treatment should stop.

Read More: Donor gives €22,800 to couple raising cash to take sick baby son to US for treatment

A High Court judge in April ruled against a trip to the US and in favour of Great Ormond Street doctors.

Mr Justice Francis concluded that life support treatment should end and said Charlie should be allowed to die with dignity.

Three Court of Appeal judges upheld that ruling in May and three Supreme Court justices on Thursday dismissed a further challenge by the couple after a hearing in London.

Mr Justice Francis had made a ruling on April 11 after a trial in the the Family Division of the High Court in London.

He heard that Charlie, who was born on August 4 last year, had a form of mitochondrial disease, a condition which causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage.

Read More: Doctors can stop baby's life-support treatment against 'devastated' parents' wishes, High Court rules

Specialists in the US have offered a therapy called nucleoside.

Lawyers representing Charlie's parents say parents should be free to make decisions about their children's treatment unless any proposed treatment poses a risk of significant harm.

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