WHAT IS IN THE BABY’S “BEST INTEREST?”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jul. 14, 2017) — A doctor from New York’s Columbia University will travel to the UK early next week to examine 11-month-old Charlie Gard, whose case has received international attention over the last several weeks after the hospital to which he is been confined for months had planned to discontinue his life support on June 30.
The child suffers from mitochondrial depletion syndrome, a rare disorder believed to be genetic which affects fewer than 20 children in the world today.
Charlie’s parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, have been seeking the hospital’s permission to take Charlie to the United States at their own expense to undergo experimental therapy. In conjunction with the New York Presbyterian Hospital, the Columbia University Irving Medical Center has already offered to treat Charlie there if proper arrangements can be made for him to travel.
After the parents entreated the hospital to maintain Charlie’s life support in light of reports from out-of-country physicians that treatment is available, the hospital referred the matter back to a London court, where fresh hearings took place on Thursday and Friday.
On Thursday, an advocate for Charlie’s parents to decide the fate of their son tweeted that the “new evidence” Judge Nicholas Francis requested in order to change previous orders was presented via video link by a doctor from New York.
The outcome of Friday’s hearing was that the U.S. physician will be permitted to conduct an examination of Charlie and confer with his current medical team reportedly early next week.
Charlie’s parents are certain that their child is not suffering presently. Until this week, courts in the UK and Europe had ruled that discontinuation of Charlie’s life support was in his best interest.