New Hearing for Charlie? Great Ormond Street Hospital Asks to ‘Explore’ New Evidence
"We believe, in common with Charlie's parents, it is right to explore this evidence."
The Pope, the U.S. President and experts around the world have spoken up for Charlie Gard. Now Charlie’s hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London, is asking for a new hearing.
They made their request to the British High Court, the BBC reported Friday.
“Two international hospitals and their researchers have communicated to us as late as the last 24 hours that they have fresh evidence about their proposed experimental treatment,” a GOSH spokesperson said. “We believe, in common with Charlie’s parents, it is right to explore this evidence.”
GOSH has today applied to the High Court for a fresh hearing in the case of Charlie Gard. See full GOSH statement: https://t.co/6xRK56G7Zj
— GOSH (@GreatOrmondSt) July 7, 2017
One Week Ago: Scheduled to Die
Just one week ago, Charlie was scheduled to be taken off his ventilator, which would cause him to die. The 11-month-old has a rare case of mitochondrial depletion syndrome. He cannot move or breathe on his own. He has also suffered seizures which doctors said caused irreversible brain damage at the cellular level. Explaining that they wanted to prevent him suffering further, doctors recommended he be taken off life support.
But for the past several months, Charlie’s parents have been fighting a tough legal battle to take him to the U.S. There, a doctor has offered to try something that may help Charlie, though the chance is reportedly very small. The same treatment previously helped another boy with a similar condition, though not as severe as Charlie’s.
American Art Estopinan said that doctors told him his son would die and nothing could be done. But a doctor tried treatment called nucleoside therapy. Now, Estopinan’s son is 6.
But British Courts repeatedly sided with Charlie’s doctors at GOSH, asserting that taking Charlie off life support was in his best interest. Most recently, the European Court of Human Rights declined to hear the case last week, leaving the U.K. rulings to stand.
As late as late week, GOSH authorities would not let Charlie’s parents take him home to die, though they postponed his death.
Wave of International Pressure to Help Charlie
Pope Francis weighed in Sunday with a statement in support of Charlie’s parents. The Vatican children’s hospital even offered to take Charlie on for free — but the UK refused. GOSH claims the current court rulings prevent Charlie from leaving the hospital.
President Donald Trump also tweeted his support Monday. His administration has reportedly remained in contact with Charlie’s family. He also planned to meet with Prime Minister Theresa May and discuss Charlie’s case during the G20 Summit.
On Thursday night, New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Irving Medical Center — the same hospital where Estopinan’s son was treated — offered to admit Charlie, or ship the treatment to the U.K. They made the offers on the condition that the FDA approved and that “legal hurdles are cleared.”
According to the BBC, seven clinicians and researches signed a letter arguing there is data suggesting the experimental treatment really could help Charlie. The U.S. doctor offering to treat Charlie signed the letter as well.
Up to the High Court
A GOSH spokesman said the hospital wanted to give the High Court the chance to “objectively assess the claims of fresh evidence.” The hospital’s view “has not changed,” the spokesman added. He reiterated that the hospital still holds Charlie’s “best interests” as a “priority.”
The hospital “respectfully” acknowledges offers from help from the Vatican, the U.S., and others, the statement said. Read the full statement here.
Earlier Friday on Good Morning Britain, Charlie’s mother, Connie Yates, said doctors told her there was about a 10 percent chance the treatment could work. “In some sense people may say that’s a small chance, but when it comes to medicine that’s quite a big chance,” she said.
According to Sky News, a spokesperson for Charlie’s family said GOSH’s recent move ends an “extremely traumatic and distressing week for his parents and the rest of his family.”
“They are optimistic their son will soon get the treatment he needs and want to thank those people from around the world who’ve sent them so many moving and touching messages of support,” the spokesperson added.