Saturday 21 April 2018

Couple who want to take sick baby son to US for treatment lose Court of Appeal fight

Baby Charlie
Baby Charlie

Brian Farmer

A couple who want to take their sick baby son to the USA for treatment have lost a Court of Appeal fight.

Appeal judges said evidence showed that nine-month-old Charlie Gard, who suffers from a rare genetic condition and has brain damage, would not benefit from a proposed therapy trial.

Charlie's parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, said a therapy trial in the USA would not cause significant harm and was their only remaining hope.

Specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where Charlie is being cared for, had been against the idea.

They said therapy proposed by a doctor in America was experimental and would not help. They said life-support treatment should stop.

A High Court judge last month ruled against a trip to America and in favour of Great Ormond Street doctors.

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

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

Charlie's parents, who are in their 30s and come from Bedfont, west London, asked three Court of Appeal judges to overturn Mr Justice Francis's decision.

But Lord Justice McFarlane, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Sales, who analysed evidence at a Court of Appeal hearing in London on Tuesday, have upheld the ruling.

Lord Justice McFarlane praised Charlie's parents' composure and dignity and said: "My heart goes out to them."

But he suggested that the couple's criticisms of Mr Justice Francis's ruling were ill-founded.

He said Mr Justice Francis had based decisions on "the core evidence".

Lord Justice McFarlane said Mr Justice Francis had clearly found the proposed therapy trial would be "futile" and said he had been fully entitled to reach the conclusions he had reached.

"It goes without saying that all other things being equal the view of the parents will be respected and be determinative," said Lord Justice McFarlane.

"But it is well recognised that parents in the terrible position these parents and other parents find themselves in will lose their objectivity."

He said a trip to America for a therapy trial would expose Charlie to harm.

Lord Justice McFarlane said there had been a "100pc child focused" investigation.

Press Association

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