UK Appeal Court rules feeding tube and ventilator can be removed from baby Charlie Gard

By Kathy Ostrowski, Policy & Research Director, Kansans for Life

Charlie Gard

A second court has now doomed 9-months-old Charlie Gard to die inside a London hospital.

The UK Court of Appeal ruled this morning against the plea of parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard that they be allowed to take their seriously ill son out of a British hospital and move Charlie to the United States for experimental therapy, The Guardian reported.

The decision by Justices Andrew McFarlane, Eleanor King and Philip Sales affirmed an April 11 lower court decision that the Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) may keep Charlie on the premises and remove him from a ventilator and feeding tube.

The appeal court judges had been otherwise urged by Charlie’s lead attorney, Richard Gordon. Gordon argued the case raised serious legal issues, including the possibility that Charlie might be being unlawfully detained and denied his right to liberty.

Gordon argued, The Guardian reported, that, “What is really at stake in this case is the state, on a massive scale, intruding in your right to private and family life.”

Charlie entered GOSH in October and was diagnosed as suffering from a form of mitochondrial disease that causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage. Subsequently his parents discovered that 18 people in the United States had been treated with an oral medication of naturally occurring compounds to remedy this rare condition. Reports have not identified the doctor who initially agreed to treat Charlie, but it was noted that his parents were aware that no cure was promised.

Attorney Gordon urged that the Appeal Court, “[S]hould not interfere with the exercising of parental rights… and stand in the way of their only remaining hope.”

Over 80,000 people around the world agreed with that position and generously pledged over $1.5 million in a GoFundMe campaign (#Charliesfight) to get him out of the hospital and into the experimental therapy.

GOSH attorneys pressed the Appeal Court to agree that the parents’ proposed treatment for Charley would result in a “condition of existence which is offering the child no benefit.”

One can only sadly wonder, alternatively, what Charlie’s “condition” would have been if GOSH had released him—months ago– for the new therapy.

His parents never imagined that bringing their baby to a hospital meant they would lose the ability to remove him. But that is what British courts have now decreed.