Charlie Gard parents drop legal fight, agree to let him die

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Their decision means that the child, who suffers from encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, will receive only palliative care and most likely will die before his first birthday August 4.

The baby's parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, surrendered their legal fight to extend Charlie's life on Monday. His parents accept that his condition has deteriorated to the point where the experimental treatment would not work.

If no agreement was reached, Charlie would be transferred to a hospice and his ventilation tube removed.

At a hearing earlier this month, Hirano said there was a 10 per cent chance of a significant improvement in Charlie's muscle use with the treatment, known as nucleoside therapy. "We have decided it is no longer in his best interests to pursue treatment".

Under British law, children have rights independent of their parents, and it is usual for courts to intervene when parents and doctors disagree on the treatment of a child - such as cases where a parent's religious beliefs prohibit blood transfusions. Best for who? Not Charlie, not his parents.

Mr Justice Francis will decide today what will happen.

In comments to CNA July 25, Benjamin Harnwell, founder of the Rome-based Dignitatis Humanae Institute, said he thought that "the hospital - and the courts - crossed a totalitarian line in refusing to hand the baby over to his parents at their request, so that they could seek further medical attention in the USA, for which they had secured the funding".

His parents, who are both in their 30s, want to take Charlie home to their flat in Bedfont so he can lay in his cot. However, after seeing a new MRI scan this week, Hirano declined to offer the therapy.

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"Understandably, the parents wish to spend the maximum amount of time they have left with Charlie from now own", their lawyer, Grant Armstrong, said Monday.

"We return to the court for perhaps the most hard emotional part of this case - the circumstances in which Charlie's passing will be conducted".

As Charlie's case made its way through the courts, worldwide attention grew.

After a bad-tempered court hearing, the couple's lawyer snarled 'Give them some peace!' at the hospital's QC Katie Gollop.

Great Ormond Street, one of the world's leading children's hospitals, said the case had been "a uniquely painful and distressing process for all concerned", and it was sorry it had been played out in public.

Francis said he envisaged Wednesday's proceedings being "the final hearing", in a case which has been going through the courts for five months. The Court granted the orders sought. Some people have wrongly concluded that these decisions should only be up to parents. Although recourse to the courts may not always be required, serious and careful consideration of the legal and ethical aspects of a decision to withdraw treatment is always critical and legal advice is recommended.

The fight to save Charlie Gard, the British infant at the center of a worldwide debate about parental rights and medical treatment, is coming to a close. As with numerous decisions that have to be made in health care, close and open communication with the patient (where possible) and the patient's family will also be important.

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