Charlie Gard’s parents ask court to let them to take son home to die
Charlie Gard’s mother returned to a London court on Tuesday to ask a judge to let her and the baby’s father take their critically ill son home to die.
Lawyers for the family of the 11-month-old infant and the hospital treating him appeared in Britain’s High Court, a day after Charlie’s parents said they were dropping their long legal battle to get him experimental treatment.
The family lawyer, Grant Armstrong, told a judge that parents Chris Gard and Connie Yates have held discussions with Great Ormond Street Hospital about sending Charlie home, but that there were obstacles. The hospital had suggested a hospice option.
“These are issues which cry out for settlement,” Judge Nicholas Francis said.
Lawyers for the hospital said medics wanted to ensure the child was safe, and had asked for a mediator. Charlie’s parents had declined.
“The care plan must be safe, it must spare Charlie all pain and it must protect his dignity. At the same time, the plan must honour his parents’ wishes about two matters in particular namely the time and place of his passing,” the hospital’s lawyers wrote in a document presented to the court.
The document said that the invasive ventilation Charlie required was only provided in a hospital setting. Among other practical problems, it said, the ventilator would not fit through the front door of Charlie’s home.
“Charlie is a child who requires highly specialised treatment. His care cannot be simplified. It must be provided in a specialist setting by specialists,” the document said.
Charlie suffers from mitochondrial depletion syndrome, a rare genetic disease, and cannot breathe unassisted. The legal case over his care has been in various British courts since March. His parents on Monday accepted that his condition has deteriorated to the point where the experimental treatment would not work.
Outside court, Chris Gard said the couple wanted to spend their final hours with their son.
“We are about to do the hardest thing that we will ever have to do, which is to let our beautiful little Charlie go,” he said.
Francis presided over the case revolving around the family’s wish to seek medical treatment in the US. The London children’s hospital opposed that, saying it would not help and would cause Charlie suffering.
British courts and the European Court of Human Rights sided with the hospital. The parents abandoned their bid for the experimental treatment on Monday, saying that time had run out for Charlie.
“There’s now no way back for Charlie. Time has been wasted. It’s now time that has suddenly gone against him,” Chris Gard said.
The case drew international attention after Charlie’s parents received support from Pope Francis, US President Donald Trump.