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U.S. doctor examines baby Charlie Gard in hopes of saving his life

Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire

SIGN THE PETITION: Support Charlie Gard, forced off life support by judge

LONDON, England, July 17, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – An American doctor who previously testified that Charlie Gard's chances of improvement are up to 50 percent is examining the 11-month-old today and tomorrow.

The doctor's name wasn't made public at first, but then the Associated Press revealed his name is Dr. Michio Hirano of Columbia University.

Dr. Hirano is board-certified in Neuromuscular Medicine and Neurology. He's the medical director of two laboratories and a professor at Columbia University. Dr. Hirano is affiliated with New York-Presbyterian Hospital, where Columbia's medical center is.

The Columbia University Department of Neurology is one of the world's leading institutions researching mitochondrial diseases. Charlie Gard has a rare mitochondrial disease.

Dr. Hirano has received a number of grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). His bachelor's degree is from Harvard and his M.D. is from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. 

According to Columbia University Medical Center's website, Dr. Hirano has been named one of America's Best Doctors, was elected a member of the American Neurological Association, and was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology. 

Charlie's parents have raised more than $1.5 million to bring him to the U.S. for experimental treatment. But English and European courts have ruled they don't have the right to take their son from the hospital for treatment elsewhere and that the hospital can decide to remove his ventilator instead.

The judge will examine Dr. Hirano's findings and likely make a decision by or around July 25.

"We’re just thrilled that Dr. Hirano has arrived in London and is examining Charlie and we’re fully confident that when he presents his report to Justice Francis, that Charlie will be allowed to come to America for this new cutting-edge treatment," Rev. Patrick Mahoney told LifeSiteNews. He was in London alongside Charlie's parents in court and said the attorney for Great Ormond Street Hospital treated Dr. Hirano like a hostile witness in a criminal trial rather than a medical expert offering to help one of their patients.

"One of the issues that has been lost in all of this is the value of Charlie’s life regardless of any treatment he might receive," said Mahoney. "Charlie still has as much value and dignity and his life should be fought for whether any treatment would be effective or not. And I think that it’s important for us to realize that this discussion should not just be framed in the context of Charlie’s ‘quality of life’ but Charlie’s life itself." 



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