Parents end legal fight over baby's treatment

The parents of terminally ill baby Charlie Gard drop a legal battle to give him further treatment.
Ms Connie Yates and Mr Chris Gard arriving at the High Court in central London yesterday. The couple had fought a long legal fight to allow them to take their sick child to the US for experimental treatment.
Ms Connie Yates and Mr Chris Gard arriving at the High Court in central London yesterday. The couple had fought a long legal fight to allow them to take their sick child to the US for experimental treatment.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Time has run out to take UK child with rare disease to US: Lawyer

LONDON • The parents of British baby Charlie Gard yesterday abandoned their legal fight to take their son to the United States for experimental treatment, in a case that has attracted global attention.

A lawyer representing Charlie's parents, Ms Connie Yates and Mr Chris Gard, told judge Nicholas Francis at London's High Court that "time had run out" and they had made their decision after seeing the 11-month-old's latest brain scans.

The judge had been due to rule on whether there was enough new evidence to allow the parents to take the baby, who suffers from a rare genetic disorder, to the US for a type of treatment that has never been used on a human being.

But the couple broke down in tears as their lawyer Grant Armstrong told the court: "It is no longer in Charlie's best interest to pursue this course of treatment."

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"For Charlie, it's too late, time has run out. Irreversible muscular damage has been done and the treatment can no longer be a success," he said.

"Charlie has waited patiently for treatment. Due to delay, that window of opportunity has been lost," he added. British doctors believe Charlie's brain damage is "severe and irreversible" and have said the baby "may be suffering".

Charlie's mother said after the hearing that he could have lived a normal life had he been given treatment earlier. "Charlie did have a real chance of getting better," said Ms Yates. "Now we will never know what would have happened if he got treatment."

The couple had fought a long legal fight to allow them to take their child out of London's Great Ormond Street Hospital, but lost in both Britain's Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

The ruling led to the intervention of both US President Donald Trump and Pope Francis, who offered to help the baby. Charlie suffers from a form of mitochondrial disease that causes progressive muscle weakness in the heart and other key organs.

Scores of supporters holding blue balloons gathered outside the court for yesterday's hearing, with Mr Armstrong saying the parents "want to establish a foundation for Charlie's voice to be heard".

Judge Francis paid tribute to the parents "for the love and the care they gave to their child Charlie".

"No parents could have done more for their child," he said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2017, with the headline 'Parents end legal fight over baby's treatment'. Print Edition | Subscribe