by Sharon Rondeau

(Jul. 17, 2017) — A U.S. neurologist who also specializes in muscular disorders arrived in London on Monday to conduct an examination and confer with other specialists on the condition of 11-month-old Charlie Gard, whose life depends on whether or not a judge can be convinced that potential treatment is a viable option to allowing him to “die with dignity.”

Charlie has been hospitalized continuously at the Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) since last fall as his muscles and ability to breathe deteriorated from his rare condition, mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, which is also believed to have caused injury to the baby’s brain.

GOSH had previously been ordered by a London judge to discontinue Charlie’s life support based on the doctors’ contention that his condition was untreatable.

Charlie’s parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, nevertheless raised over $1.5 million USD to seek experimental treatment in the United States.

The U.S. neurologist, Dr. Michio Hirano of Columbia University, specializes in mitochondrial diseases and neuromuscular medicine and believes that an experimental treatment he has spearheaded has up to a 56% chance of effecting improvement in Charlie’s ability to use his muscles and breathe on his own.

The UK Daily Mail reported that Hirano met with a doctor from the Vatican’s Gesu Bambino hospital at GOSH in a session lasting five hours.  An EEG was reportedly also completed on Monday.

At a court hearing on Friday conducted by Judge Nicholas Francis, Hirano had appeared from New York by video link stating that he believed the experimental treatment, called “nucleoside bypass therapy,” is “worth trying” in Charlie’s case based on data not available in April, when Francis held the hearing which determined that Charlie’s life support could be discontinued.

The Mail added that over the weekend, Francis held an “emergency directions hearing” with no media present, after which he was “unavailable for comment.”





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