The British parents of 11-month-old Charlie Gard, whose illness has damaged his brain and rendered him unable to breathe on his own, have decided against pursuing their controversial efforts to take him to the United States for treatment after an assessment from a U.S. doctor.
This choice will preemptively end the court proceedings and any possibility of the family transporting Charlie to the U.S.
Charlie’s parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, gave a solemn address to the press yesterday about their decision on the steps of the U.K. High Court.
“This is one of the hardest things we’ve ever had to say and we are about to do one of the hardest things we’ve ever had to do,” Chris Gard said, reading from a sheet of paper.
Gard said that it was no longer in his son’s best interest to seek treatment, and that they have decided to let him go and “be with the angels.”
“Our son is an absolute warrior,” Gard said of his baby. “We will miss him terribly.”
A judge extended an invitation to Dr. Michio Hirano, co-director of the Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) Muscular DystrophyAssociation clinic and a professor of neurology at Columbia University in New York City, as well as a doctor from the Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome, to evaluate Charlie’s potential readiness for an experimental treatment for his medical condition, which is known as mitochondrial depletion syndrome.
The disease is rare and causes muscles to progressively weaken, leading to organ failure. Though he is less than 1 years old, the baby has been on life support for several months.
Charlie’s parents, based upon the assessment of the doctors, have opted not to pursue nucleoside therapy, an oral medicine that aims to improve the function of his mitochondrial DNA.
Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London, where Charlie has been receiving treatment, had recommended against the child receiving the experimental treatment.
Today, Chris Gard suggested that based upon the assessment of the doctors, they believe their son could have been saved if he were given the experimental treatment at an early stage of life, and said “a whole lot of time has been wasted.”
He asked the press for privacy as the family said their final goodbyes to their son.