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Charlie Gard Story: Parents End Legal Battle, Say 'Time Has Run Out' for Terminally Ill Baby

( [email protected] ) Jul 24, 2017 10:19 AM EDT
July 24, 2017: Charlie Gard's parents have ended their five-month legal battle to take the terminally ill baby to the United States for experimental treatment.
Charlie Gard, who had a rare genetic condition called mitochondrial depletion syndrome, passed away on Friday, July 28. GoFundMe

In a heartbreaking turn of events, Charlie Gard's parents have ended their five-month legal battle to take the terminally ill baby to the United States for experimental treatment.

On Monday, Gard's parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, told Britain's High Court they were withdrawing their legal challenge, as "time had run out" for their little boy.

As reported, Charlie's parents, supported by an American neurologist and Italian medical researchers, had wanted the 11-month-old to be given the legal right to receive an untested therapy in the U.S., raising over a million dollars to take him abroad for treatment.

However, the family's lawyer, Grant Armstrong, said Monday that Charlie's parents had made the decision to end their fight because an American doctor said it was too late to give him nucleoside therapy.

"The parents worst nightmare have been confirmed", Armstrong said, explaining that U.S. neurologist Dr. Michio Hirano had said he was no longer willing to offer the baby experimental therapy after he saw the results of a new MRI scan last week.

"For Charlie, it is too late...treatment cannot offer a chance of success," he told the court, adding that experts have said that the "window of opportunity no longer exists."

Armstrong said Charlie's parents would now look to establish a foundation so that the infant's voice "continues to be heard".

As earlier reported, Gard and Yates had battled for months to be allowed to take their son to America for treatment. Successive courts ruled in favor of Charlie's British doctors, who said it would be more charitable to allow the child to die.

The couple had taken their fight to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, after exhausting all legal options in the UK. However, in June, all seven judges refused to intervene and ruled the parents' application "inadmissible", stating that "the decision is final."  

Judges also said it would be "futile" for Charlie to have further treatment because he has irreversible brain damage and cannot see, hear or move. They concluded the baby was "being exposed to continued pain, suffering and distress" and undergoing experimental treatment with "no prospects of success... would offer no benefit".

However, Judge Nicholas Francis had scheduled the two-day hearing for this week to consider fresh evidence after Dr. Hirano came to London to examine the child.

The case won international attention after Charlie's parents received support from Pope Francis, U.S. President Donald Trump, and a slew of religious leaders and congressmen. One hospital even offered to provide free treatment for Charlie in the U.S.

The pro-life organization March for Life, along with a coalition of other pro-life organizations, presented a petition to the hospital July 7, which urged the hospital to allow Gard's parents to take him elsewhere for treatment.

Over the weekend, the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London claimed its staff had received death threats over the case.

"Thousands of abusive messages have been sent to doctors and nurses whose life's work is to care for sick children. Many of these messages are menacing, including death threats," the hospital said in a statement.

"Families have been harassed and discomforted while visiting their children, and we have received complaints of unacceptable behavior even within the hospital itself."

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