Connie Yates: “We should be planning Charlie’s first birthday but instead we’re planning his funeral”

By Dave Andrusko

Chris Gard clutched one of his son's toy monkeys as he listened to Katie Gollop, the attorney for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Chris Gard clutched one of his son’s toy monkeys as he listened to Katie Gollop, the attorney for Great Ormond Street Hospital.

I should have known why Connie Yates, Charlie Gard’s mom, always brought one of Charlie’s two toy monkeys with her to each court appearance before Justice Nicholas Francis. The Daily Mail told us why yesterday:

This was so ‘we always had a little part of Charlie with us’

Her 13-word statement Sunday captured the pain, grief, and sense of loss that Connie and Chris Gard, Charlie’s father, are experiencing:

‘We should be planning Charlie’s first birthday but instead we’re planning his funeral.’

August 4 would have been their son’s first birthday. Instead last Friday, Justice Francis and the Great Ormand Street Hospital (GOSH) prevailed. He would be taken to a hospice (not Connie and Chris’s flat) where his ventilator would be disconnected. And he would die.

By the middle of last week, Chris and Connie acknowledged it was too late for Charlie. But unless you understand the last five months, you would not understand what they were agreeing to.

It was not, you understand, that they no longer believed that the therapy pioneered by Michio Hirano would have helped their son. In pleading for his son’s life, Chris told Justice Francis, “We truly believe these medicines work. If there was no improvement, we would let him go… please give him the chance.”

Connie told Justice Francis that the American, 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.”

So why was it too late?

Because “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.)

GOSH fought them at every turn for months. Institutional muscle and prestige won out over parental love and unwavering attention.

Alison Smith-Squire, a family spokeswoman, told reporters the parents haven’t finalized funeral arrangement plans, but “have decided Charlie will be buried with his beloved toy monkeys.”

NRL News Today will report developments as promptly as possible over the next few days as plans are finalized for Charlie’s funeral.

We can hope that Justice Francis and GOSH will find nothing to object to.