By Kathy Ostrowski, Kansans for Life, Policy & Research Director
Today, it was confirmed in the British press that the U.K. Court of Appeal will review on May 23, the case of Charlie Gard– a nine-month-old baby ordered off life support by the High Court in April.
Baby Charlie has been in a London hospital since October, when it was detected he had mitochondrial depletion syndrome, a rare and grave chromosomal condition that weakens his muscles. No successful cure is yet available, but he is eligible to receive an innovative treatment in the U.S. called nucleoside bypass therapy.
London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, however, won’t allow Charlie’s parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, to remove him for the trip overseas– even after more than $1.5 million has been raised with a Go FundMe campaign, to cover medical expenses and travel.
The April 11 court decision by Mr. Justice Francis backed the position of the hospital “bosses” (as the Brits term the hospital bureaucracy) that Charlie’s ventilator be shut off, and he be allowed to “die with dignity.” But the modern definition of dignity is too often infected with subjective “quality of life” assessments and rationed care considerations.
The attorney for Charlie’s appeal is Charles Da Silva, and the granting of this appellate review reflects a legal analysis that the parents can possibly prevail.
Connie and Chris are desperate that their parental rights be upheld. They are not claiming the therapy will cure Charlie, but that it has shown some success and Charlie’s participation will aid the research. The parents have stated:
“If there is no improvement we will let him go. We just want to give him a chance. Charlie is still strong and stable. He is growing more beautiful by the day.”
The huge outpouring of support from the public is quite touching, including candlelight vigils, and letters storming Parliament as registered on social media at #charlie’s fight and www.charlie’sfight. org.
The public believes Charlie’s parents should be in charge of their son… will the Court of Appeal see it that way?