US Doctor to Travel to UK, Will Evaluate Charlie Gard With Other Experts
The High Court judge is expected to make a decision by July 25.
A New York doctor who testified in favor of treating Charlie Gard will travel to the U.K. next week to evaluate the 11-month-old. After he and other medical experts meet to discuss Charlie’s condition, Judge Nicholas Francis of the High Court in London will rule on Charlie’s fate by July 25.
Charlie has severe mitochondrial depletion syndrome and cannot move or breath on his own. On Thursday, Dr. Michio Hirano of Columbia University said recently-evaluated data suggests there is a better chance than previously thought Charlie could improve with nucleoside therapy.
On Thursday and Friday, Reviewing New Evidence
The hearing, which concluded Friday, is the latest in a months-long legal battle over Charlie’s life. Parents Chris Gard and Connie Yates have been fighting to take him to the U.S. for treatment. They raised over $1 million to do so. President Donald Trump, a New York Hospital, Pope Francis and the Vatican children’s hospital all offered to help Charlie.
Charlie’s doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London have argued he should be taken off life support. They believe he has irreversible brain damage that will not be helped by the treatment. They’ve also said that extending his life could prolong any pain and suffering he may be experiencing. Because of court rulings backing them, Charlie’s removal to any other facility — or even receipt of treatment in the U.K. — has been illegal.
A week ago GOSH applied for a rehearing at the High Court. The surprise move came after several experts, including Hirano, signed a letter revealing “fresh evidence.”
In his Thursday testimony via video chat, Hirano said there is an at least 10 percent chance of improvement for Charlie based on recent studies. He also said it is not certain that Charlie is in pain.
Francis called the evidence presented by Hirano “significant.” He said he would be happy to change his decision if the evidence proves strong enough. In April, Francis sided with GOSH doctors wanting to remove Charlie from life support.
American pro-life activist Catherine Glenn Foster is currently helping Charlie’s parents in the U.K. The Americans United for Life president told The Stream Gard and Yates called the international support for Charlie “meaningful.” For those wishing to support Charlie and his parents, Foster suggested the following actions:
- Add your name to the petition, sponsored by AUL, to bring Charlie to the U.S. for treatment.
- Take a photo holding a sign that says “#IAmCharlieGard,” and use it as your Facebook or Twitter profile picture.