Charlie will not be allowed to go home to die, Justice Rules

By Dave Andrusko

Charlie Gard’s parents have released this heartbreaking image of their terminally ill son as they spend their last few hours with him (Picture: Featureworld)

(Picture: Featureworld)

A few days ago, Connie Yates, mother of little Charlie Gard, described their situation as a “living hell.” Reading minute by minute coverage of today’s hearing before Justice Nicholas Francis, you can only assume she and Charlie’s dad, Chris Gard, are approaching the equivalent of Dante’s 9th circle of hell.

After many public (and private) back and forths between the family and the Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), Justice Francis announced unless an agreement can be reached for alternative arrangements by noon tomorrow (6am Eastern Standard Time), Charlie will be transferred to a hospice and his ventilator disconnected.

Connie and Chris have asked, through their attorney Grant Armstrong, to spend four days of ‘tranquility’ with their son before withdrawing his life support. GOSH was having none of that.

GOSH attorneys fixated on the idea that Charlie’s ventilator couldn’t make it through the front door of Connie and Chris’s flat. But that was just for starters. According to the Daily Mail

The court heard the hospital was insisting a ‘full team’ of paediatric intensive care doctors and nurses would be needed, along with a ‘health and safety assessment’, a special bed and ‘security personnel and a police escort’ to take Charlie home.

For one 11 month old baby who is dying.

The Daily Mail quoted a family friend:

‘The hospital have set the bar so high that in terms of clinical team for Charlie’s end of life nothing seemed good enough for gosh.

‘The reality is Charlie is very stable, not in pain and rarely needs a doctor. It is therefore difficult to understand why Charlie could not die at home.

‘All he needs is a ventilator which pumps room air into his lungs. It is extraordinarily sad that there’s been so much fuss about him dying at home.

‘They will be devastated they have not been granted their final wishes as parents.’

Indeed at one point, Justice Francis asked for the CV (Curriculum Vitae) of the doctor who has volunteered to provide care for Charlie at Chris and Connie’s home.

Justice Francis took the occasion today to vent his spleen at anyone who may believe that the country’s nationalized health care system has played any role in the way Charlie has been treated. “’The notion the state is involved, just because we have a nationalised health service, is pure nonsense.” He added,” ‘What is happening is that I have to make a decision on what is Charlie’s best interests.”

Of course this has been the hospital’s and Judge Francis’ refrain from the beginning. The effect, of course, is to insist that only GOSH and Justice Francis know what is in Charlie’s “best interests,” not his parents.

Another sleazy angle has been the attack on Dr. Michio Hirano, bashed by assorted “medical ethicists” for giving Chris and Connie “false hope.” He did nothing of the sort.

Indeed when he was allowed last week to see Charlie’s medical records, he re-emphasized what he had testified the week before via videoconferencing. As Connie told Justice Francis, Dr. Hirano (and an Italian specialist) “were still willing to treat Charlie after reviewing the MRI head scan from July 2017 as they still felt that there was a chance of meaningful improvement in Charlie’s brain. However [and this is the key to everything] due to the deterioration in his muscles, there is now no way back for Charlie. Time that has been wasted. It is time that has sadly gone against him.” (My emphasis.)

We will talk more about the background and what lies ahead in another post later today.