‘Hardest thing’

Charlie Gard’s parents make excruciating decision to give up fight, and let baby son die

Charlie Gard's parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard read a statement at the High Court after a hearing on their baby's future, in London, Britain July 24, 2017. (REUTERS/Peter Nicholls)

Connie Yates and Chris Gard, the parents of 11-month-old Charlie Gard, dropped their fight on Monday to bring the severely ill baby to the U.S. for an experimental treatment. Yates and Gard have been locked in a legal battle with Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where Charlie, who suffers from a rare genetic condition, is a patient. Hospital officials have prevented Yates and Gard from taking Charlie elsewhere for treatment, saying that any further treatment would be futile and only cause little Charlie more pain.

The parents have passionately battled the hospital in a case that has reached Britain’s highest court. Earlier this month, a U.S. doctor testified that an experimental treatment could potentially help Charlie, who has brain damage, severe muscle damage and can’t breathe without being on a life support system. However, the doctor said there was only a chance the experimental treatment could improve or extend Charlie’s life.

On Monday, Yates and Gard returned to the High Court in London to reveal their decision. The couple’s lawyer, Grant Armstrong, addressed a packed and announced that the parents are giving up their fight. “This case is now about time. Sadly, time has run out,” Armstrong said. Results of a new MRI scan showed Charlie’s condition had worsened to the point where even the experimental treatment might no longer be able to help him.

After the hearing, Yates and Gard spoke to the press and supporters outside the courtroom. Gard said,  young Charlie, after being removed from life support, “won’t make his first birthday in just under two weeks’ time” on August 4. Yates was equally distraught, saying, “To let our beautiful little Charlie go” is “the hardest thing we’ll ever have to do,” according to the BBC.

In a statement, she added, “We only wanted to give him a chance of life. A whole lot of time has been wasted. We are sorry we could not save you.”

The case has drawn global attention with U.S. President Donald Trump and Pope Francis both weighing in and offering support to help Charlie received treatment. On Monday, the pope said he was praying for Charlie and his parents and urged followers to do the same. The case has also led to bitterly divided views in the court of public opinion. Those who supported the parents viewed the legal battle as a denial of parental rights and used the case as way to criticize government-funded health care. Writing for The New York Times, Ross Douthat was critical the notion that Yates and Gard were blocked from making medical decisions on their son’s behalf in this particular case.

“The rights of parents are essential to a free society’s architecture, and fathers and mothers are far more likely than any other party to have their child’s best interests close to heart,” Douthat argued in a column published over the weekend. “To intervene on behalf of experts against the family is sometimes necessary but always dangerous, fraught with totalitarian temptations to which the modern West is not immune.”

Below, watch a video of Charlie’s parents giving their statement.

Read the full story at The Associated Press.


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