LONDON (AFP) – The parents of a terminally-ill British baby whose plight has drawn sympathy from Pope Francis and United States President Donald Trump were preparing on Friday (July 28) for their child’s life support to be withdrawn.
Charlie Gard’s mother Connie Yates lashed out at the Great Ormond Street Hospital, where the baby has been treated, after a court overruled her wish to spend more time with the 11-month-old before he dies.
The hospital “denied us our final wish,” Yates said in a statement after a judge on Thursday agreed with doctors that Gard should be moved to a hospice and life support should be withdrawn shortly thereafter.
“We just want some peace with our son – no hospital, no lawyers, no courts, no media – just quality time with Charlie away from everything to say goodbye to him in the most loving way,” Yates said.
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Gard was born with a rare form of mitochondrial disease that causes progressive muscle weakness, including in key organs such as the heart.
Yates and Chris Gard, the boy’s father, fought a five-month legal battle for him to be taken to the United States for experimental treatment.
But they gave up last week saying “time has run out” after they were shown scans that indicated that his condition had deteriorated too much.
They then asked for Gard to be taken to their home for his final days but were overruled by the hospital which said the ventilator keeping him alive was too bulky to fit through their front door.
They finally agreed for him to be placed in a hospice.
A hospital spokeswoman said doctors had “tried absolutely everything” to accommodate their wishes.
But she said that “the risk of an unplanned and chaotic end to Charlie’s life is an unthinkable outcome for all concerned and would rob his parents of precious last moments with him”.
Gard’s parents lost a series of appeals in British courts and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg for him to be taken to the US.
Their legal battle led to offers of help from the US and the Vatican, leading the hospital to ask the courts for a final assessment of any new evidence.