Parents, hospital clash over arrangements for death of baby Charlie Gard

The London hospital treating terminally ill baby Charlie Gard told a court on Tuesday that the key obstacle to Charlie being taken home to die was that the invasive ventilation he requires can only be provided in a hospital setting.
Chris Gard (left) the father of terminally-ill 11-month-old Charlie Gard reads out a statement while Charlie's mother Connie Yates (right) looks on at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on July 24, 2017, after the parents abandoned their legal fig
Chris Gard (left) the father of terminally-ill 11-month-old Charlie Gard reads out a statement while Charlie's mother Connie Yates (right) looks on at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on July 24, 2017, after the parents abandoned their legal fight to take their son to the US for experimental treatment.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (Reuters) - The parents of terminally ill baby Charlie Gard on Tuesday (July 25) accused the London hospital treating him of placing obstacles in the way of their son dying at home, but the hospital said it would like to fulfill their wish “if practical”.

The plight of 11-month-old Charlie, who suffers from an extremely rare genetic condition causing progressive brain damage and muscle weakness, has been at the centre of a bitter dispute between his parents and Great Ormond Street Hospital.  

The tragic case has elicited sympathy from far and wide, with US President Donald Trump and Pope Francis among those who have weighed in with views.

Charlie’s parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, on Monday abandoned their legal battle to prolong the life of their son, whom they had wanted to take to the United States to undergo an experimental treatment never before tried on anyone with his condition.  

But doctors at Great Ormond Street believed the treatment had no realistic chance of helping Charlie and would only prolong his suffering.  Both parties were back at the London High Court on Tuesday, this time for a hearing on arrangements for Charlie’s life support to be switched off.  

The parents’ lawyer, Grant Armstrong, said the hospital was placing obstacles in the way of their final wish to take their son home.

“We struggle with the difficulties the hospital is placing in the way of the parents having a ... short period of time before the final act in Charlie’s short life,” Armstrong told the court.  

Minutes later, the lawyer representing the hospital said the couple had rejected an offer of mediation.  Katie Gollop also said Great Ormond Street would like to fulfill the wish of Charlie’s parents “if practical”.