After months of a desperately tiring battle, baby Charlie Gard’s life has come to a heartbreaking and disconcerting end.
The nightmarish legal battle fought by London couple Chris Gard and Connie Yates for their son was brought to a halt on Friday, after the 11-month-old was removed from life support.
Born with the rare genetic disease Mitochondrial DNA Depletion Syndrome, Charlie was facing probable brain damage and continued weakening of the muscles. Having admitted him to London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) for children to find that, not only was the well known facility unequipped to provide treatment for their child, but in favor of ending Charlie’s life, the parents sought help elsewhere.
Finding a U.S. physician, not only highly trained in Mitochondrial diseases, but also willing to provide for the child an experimental treatment that had already proven effective in other patients, the hopeful couple raised over $1.6 million in private donations from around the world using social media. However, the London Hospital whose motto is “The child first and always," ironically refused to release Charlie to the care of his parents, claiming the child to be irreparably brain damaged and declaring his right to “die with dignity.”
Following the case for months, supporters from around the world watched in disbelief as the parental rights of this couple continued to be diminished and held inferior to the unethical and absurd arguments of GOSH and rulings of multiple courts. However, the determined parents, full of love and commitment, refused to give up and continued to receive assistance in their fight.
Part of this assistance came to light in a statement made by GOSH announcing that “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.”
With this new information came the consent to a new hearing, where it would be decided, yet again, whether or not it would be in Charlie’s best interest to receive the treatment. The hearing paved the way for more testing as the U.S. physician and professor of neurology, Dr.Michio Hirano, was permitted to travel to the London Children’s hospital and examine Charlie for himself.
Much emotion ensued as the examination and the new MRI scan showed, indeed, no irreversible brain damage, as was claimed by GOSH. However, it unfortunately showed severe and irrevocable muscle damage — damage that could have been spared had the baby been treated in time.
In her statement to the High Court on Monday, Yates lamented, “There is one simple reason for Charlie's muscles deteriorating to the extent they are in now — TIME. A whole lot of wasted time. Had Charlie been given the treatment sooner he would have had the potential to be a normal, healthy little boy”.
Though Yates noted in her statement that “the American and Italian team were still willing to treat Charlie after seeing both his recent brain MRI and EEG performed last week,” the couple, regrettably, concluded that Charlie’s quality of life would not be sufficient. Therefore, in the same court hearing on Monday, Gard and Yates announced their final resolution to end their battle and remove their son from his life support, saying that they would “let [their] beautiful little Charlie go,” lamenting that it is “the hardest thing we’ll ever have to do.”
Though it is true that no one should decide when an innocent person should die, Charlie’s parents — living in the unnatural chaos found in the culture of death — should only bear so much of the blame. Regarding their decision, Yates admitted, “We are struggling to find any comfort or peace with all this.”
In one last effort for normalcy and privacy with the son they would soon be separated from, the parents requested to bring Charlie home to die, rather than leave him in the impersonal hospital or in a hospice. "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,” stated Yates. But once again, the couple was denied this most basic request, as, on Thursday, the judge’s final order was to have Charlie removed from life support and into a hospice, where he, sadly, spent what was left of his brief God-given life.
Charlie Matthew William Gard, may your soul rest in peace.
Photo of Charlie Gard: Facebook