By Kathy Ostrowski, Policy and Research Director, Kansans for Life
The parents of Charlie Gard are begging British Prime Minister Theresa May to make good on her statement to Parliament that she was confident the hospital which is determined to remove Charlie’s life support “always will consider any offers or new information that has come forward with consideration of the well-being of a desperately ill child.”
In the UK Mail, Connie Yates and Chris Gard assert that five world specialists have recommended their baby receive the experimental treatment they have long sought.
This is in stark contrast to the official opinion of London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) that Charlie cannot be helped and attempts to do so could harm him.
Connie told reporters she has sent a letter to Prime Minister May pointing out evidence in favor of the experimental treatment that is not part of the court record. She is hoping that the Prime Minister will use it in her private meeting with President Donald Trump scheduled today during the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany.
Also early Friday comes news of two developments– born of urgency and desperation– designed to help block the imminent death of Charlie.
In February Connie and Chris originally sought a court order to compel GOSH to release their son, who suffers from Mitochondrial Depletion Syndrome (MDS), a debilitating chromosomal condition. They intended to travel with him to the U.S. for “nucleoside bypass” treatment, but were rejected in every court.
As Charlie’s plight became more desperate and more public, Pope Francis and President Donald Trump have offered to help in any way possible. Today’s developments, which began earlier, involve (1) two American hospitals and (2) the Vatican.
The first development People magazine reported, came from New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center . They offered to admit Charlie for treatment onsite or, alternatively, to ship the experimental bypass medication with instructions to GOSH where Charlie has been a patient since October.
Speaking Friday to Good Morning Britain TV, Charlie’s mom Connie said a meeting with GOSH was set for 11 a.m. Friday to discuss possibly administering the experimental oral medication. She told the media that five doctors in Europe and the U.S. who specialize in MDS support that route, with about a 10% chance of it working for Charlie. She explained that 18 people have already benefited from it, with some experiencing “amazing responses, very quickly.”
The second hopeful development for Charlie is possible Vatican issuance of a passport for him. The thought is that if Charlie is a citizen of the independent, sovereign state he would not be subject to the “death warrant” supported by the British and European courts.
The Sun quoted a highly placed Vatican source commenting that issuing citizenship to Charlie is “unprecedented” but if it allows current legal barriers to “be overcome, then so be it.”
The Pope has expressed a “personal interest in Charlie” and Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin says, “We are doing whatever we can.”
GOSH officials continue not to release any comment on the situation, attributing the silence to their duty to guard patient privacy.
PUBLIC OUTCRY, PRIVATE ANGUISH
Frantic calls to save Charlie from an unjust death continue to flood the Internet and inspire ongoing public events.
Yesterday, 40 Members of the European Parliament signed onto an open letter expressing their “full support” for Charlie and his parents. “We deem ourselves obliged to voice our deepest concerns about the outrageous outcome of Charlie’s case, which infringes Europe’s most fundamental values, particularly the right to life, the right to human dignity and personal integrity.”
(See the full letter.)
Connie disclosed to the BBC that the Pope’s intervention earlier this week came after she wrote a letter to him.
She said, “It does give us a hope definitely, because there was no hope left. Charlie was going to die on Friday and, you saw the video we did, we were absolutely devastated. We had no control over it, the way it was done. And then it was going to be on the Monday instead but I think the White House got involved over the weekend and then that changed things.”
Connie described to the ITV audience the “absolute living hell” of recent days, having expected their son to die last week. “You can’t even put it into words, how horrible it is that he’s our own flesh and blood and we don’t have a say in his life,” she said.
Thursday night, the couple released a photo of them in the hospital’s St Christopher’s Chapel — where they retreat when things “simply get too much to bear.”
On Good Morning Britain on Friday, Connie assured the public, “we are completely devoted to [Charlie] and he’s not in pain and suffering, and I promise everyone I would not sit there and watch my son in pain and suffering, I couldn’t do it.”
She then added: “Euthanasia is illegal. Suicide is illegal. How is this legal?”