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Charlie Gard's parents accuse hospital of blocking 'final wish' for baby to be allowed home to die

 

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Charlie Gard's parents have ended a legal fight over treatment for the terminally-ill baby

Charlie Gard's parents have ended a legal fight over treatment for the terminally-ill baby

Charlie Gard's parents have ended a legal fight over treatment for the terminally-ill baby

The mother of Charlie Gard has returned to the High Court as she and her husband fight for the terminally-ill baby to be allowed home to experience "tranquility" before he dies.

Lawyers told a judge that Connie Yates and Chris Gard want a choice in "the circumstances in which Charlie's passing will be conducted" a day after they abandoned legal action over treatment for their son.

Barrister Grant Armstrong, who represents the couple, said their "final wish" is to take Charlie home and indicated that Great Ormond Street Hospital doctors thought such a move would be problematic.

Mr Armstrong suggested to Mr Justice Francis that hospital bosses were placing obstacles in the way of Charlie's parents.

The judge said Great Ormond Street bosses had indicated that there were practical difficulties. He said they had suggested a "hospice option".

Mr Justice Francis said: "These are issues which cry out for settlement."

Ms Yates arrived at the High Court shortly before 2pm without her husband ahead of the hearing in the Family Division.

Mr Armstrong told the court: "We return to the court for perhaps the most difficult emotional part of this case - the circumstances in which Charlie's passing will be conducted. The parents' wish is to take Charlie home."

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Chris Gard and Connie Yates with their son Charlie Gard. Photo: PA

Chris Gard and Connie Yates with their son Charlie Gard. Photo: PA

Chris Gard and Connie Yates with their son Charlie Gard. Photo: PA

He said the parents wanted him to experience "tranquility" before he dies.

Lawyers for Great Ormond Street said bosses had suggested mediation, but added that Charlie's parents had not wished to use the services of a mediator.

They also said medics wanted to avoid hazards or mishaps and wanted to ensure Charlie was safe. They said practicalities were of the "greatest importance", but Charlie's parents had proposed no clear plan.

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Charlie Gard suffers from mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome

Charlie Gard suffers from mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome

Charlie Gard suffers from mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome

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The hospital's lawyers said bosses wanted to fulfil Charlie's parents' "last desire". But they indicated that providing intensive care to Charlie outside a hospital setting was not simple.

Mr Armstrong said the hospital had not visited the ground floor flat in which Charlie's parents live.

Katie Gollop QC, for Great Ormond Street, said the hospital was unable to provide a team at Charlie's parents' flat or a house lived in by a close relative for the number of days Miss Yates and Mr Gard wanted to spend with the child before his life support is switched off.

On Monday, the couple abandoned attempts to persuade a judge to allow Charlie to travel to America for experimental therapy.

Lawyers representing Mr Gard and Miss Yates previously said they want to spend the "maximum amount of time they have left with Charlie".

The little boy would turn one year old on August 4, but Charlie's parents say he "unfortunately won't make his first birthday".

His parents accused Great Ormond Street Hospital of delaying treatment until it was too late, with 31-year-old Miss Yates complaining that the world-renowned children’s hospital had “wasted time” in refusing to allow doctors from abroad to treat her son.

Bosses at Great Ormond Street Hospital have not said when Charlie's life support equipment will be turned off.

But in late June, when litigation appeared to have come to an end after European judges refused to intervene in the case, a hospital spokeswoman had said there would be "careful planning and discussion" before life-support treatment ended.

Mr Gard and Ms Yates, who are in their 30s and come from Bedfont, west London, had asked Mr Justice Francis to rule that Charlie should be allowed to undergo a therapy trial in New York.

Doctors at Great Ormond Street said the therapy would not help. They said life-support treatment should stop.

Mr Justice Francis in April ruled in favour of Great Ormond Street and said Charlie should be allowed to die with dignity.

Charlie's parents subsequently failed to overturn his ruling in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in London.

They also failed to persuade European Court of Human Rights judges to intervene.

But the couple had recently returned to court, saying they had new evidence and they asked Mr Justice Francis to change his mind.

The couple abandoned their legal fight on Monday after concluding that Charlie had deteriorated to the "point of no return".

Ms Gard read a statement during a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court.

"We are now going to spend our last precious moments with our son Charlie, who unfortunately won't make his first birthday in just under two weeks' time," she said.

"Mummy and Daddy love you so much Charlie, we always have and we always will and we are so sorry that we couldn't save you.

"Sweet dreams baby. Sleep tight our beautiful little boy."

Telegraph Media Group Limited [2022]


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