British hospital says to re-examine case of terminally ill baby Charlie Gard

Charlie (above) suffers from an extremely rare form of mitochondrial disease.
Charlie (above) suffers from an extremely rare form of mitochondrial disease.PHOTO: FACEBOOK

LONDON (AFP) - The British hospital treating a terminally ill baby boy said on Friday (July 7) it would examine claims that he could be treated after US President Donald Trump and Pope Francis drew international attention to the case.

The hospital had been due to withdraw life support for Charlie Gard after his parents lost appeals in British courts and the European Court of Human Rights to have him undergo experimental treatment.

“Two international hospitals and their researchers have communicated to us as late as the last 24 hours that they have fresh evidence about their proposed experimental treatment,” Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children said in a statement.

“We believe, in common with Charlie’s parents, it is right to explore this evidence,” it said.

The hospital said it had itself applied to a court in Britain “for a fresh hearing in the case of Charlie Gard in light of claims of new evidence relating to potential treatment of his condition”.

“This is not an issue about money or resources, but absolutely about what is right for Charlie,” it said.

The hospital said its doctors had “explored every medical treatment” and that further treatment “would be unjustified... and would prolong Charlie’s suffering.” “Our view has not changed,” it added.

 
 
 

“We believe it is right to seek the High Court’s view in light of the claimed new evidence.” The case is expected to be heard on Monday, according to a High Court listing.

The parents of the 10-month-old baby, who suffers from brain damage, have been fighting to take him to the United States to be treated for his extremely rare form of mitochondrial disease.

The courts had ruled that keeping the baby on life support would only prolong his suffering as there was no hope of his recovering from the disease, which causes progressive muscle weakness, including in key organs such as the heart.

Pope Francis on Sunday expressed his support for the baby’s parents and said he hoped doctors would allow them to “care for their child until the end”.

A Vatican-run hospital in Rome then offered to treat Gard.

Trump also waded into the debate on Monday, tweeting that the United States “would be delighted” to help.

Mother Connie Yates maintains her son is “not in pain or suffering” and that “the support from the Pope and the President has given us hope.”