ENGLAND, July 28, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – Charlie Gard, the 11-month-old with a rare disease who captured the world's attention, died today after he was removed from his ventilator.
Reuters and the Daily Mail reported this shortly after 1:00 p.m. EST.
“Our beautiful little boy has gone,” his mother said as reported by the Daily Mail. “We are so proud of you, Charlie.”
Charlie had a rare mitochondrial disease. His parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, raised more than $1.5 million to transfer him to the U.S. for experimental treatment. But Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), where he was being treated, thought Charlie's life support should be pulled against his parents' wishes.
For months, the hospital argued in court against the rights of Charlie's parents to decide their son's course of care. English and European courts ruled that the hospital could block his parents' wishes and pull Charlie's life support.
There had been mounting public pressure on the hospital to release Charlie to another doctor. Pope Francis and President Trump both publicly expressed their support of the Gards. Trump said he'd be “delighted” to help Charlie. Chris and Connie delivered more than 350,000 pro-Charlie signatures on a petition to the hospital. Members of European Parliament had demanded Charlie be allowed to receive care.
At the request of the court, Dr. Michio Hirano, an American specialist, flew to England to examine Charlie. But Hirano examined Charlie a few months too late, when his muscles were too significantly deteriorated for treatment to help.
Had Charlie been allowed to be examined and treated by a doctor sooner, his parents said, he would “have had the potential to be a normal, healthy little boy.”
They ended their legal battle on July 24 and lamented “a whole lot of wasted time” that could have been used to help Charlie before his muscles further deteriorated.
Then, GOSH refused to accomodate Chris and Connie's final wish that they be allowed to bring Charlie home to die. On July 27, Mr. Justice Francis, the judge presiding over the case, decided Charlie would be sent to a hospice to die.
Charlie Gard's case was closely-watched around the world as his parents faced down hospital bureaucrats and government officials. Human rights advocates said the case showed what happens when children are seen as property of the state rather than offspring loved into the world by their parents.
Notably, Charlie's government-appointed lawyer, who was supposed to argue on his behalf in court, was a euthanasia activist. She argued Charlie's parents should be excluded from key meetings with doctors.
The hospital tried to block clergy from visiting Charlie to pray with him and criticized “a world where only parents speak and decide for [their] children.” The hospital even argued that keeping Charlie alive offered him no “benefit” and would just continue his “condition of existence.”
Charlie was baptized. His parents have said they hope to start a foundation to ensure this never happens again.