£180,000 raised in bid to get sick baby Charlie Gard pioneering treatment in US

Patrick Grafton-Green
Charlie Gard's parents want to take him to the US for pioneering treatment: PA

A couple from west London who want take their sick baby to a US hospital for potentially life-saving treatment have raised more than £180,000.

Postman Chris Gard, 32, and Connie Yates, 31, from Bedfont, are trying to raise £1.2million to pay for treatment for seven-month-old Charlie, who suffers from a rare genetic condition.

They have set up a GoFundMe page which shows that over £184,000 has been raised from more than 10,000 donations.

However the couple are embroiled in a High Court battle with Great Ormond Street Hospital, and a judge is to decide whether they will be allowed to take Charlie to the US, or whether doctors should withdraw life-support treatment.

Parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard with Charlie (PA)

Doctors at Great Ormond Street say Charlie, who was born on August 4 last year, should move to a palliative care regime.

On Friday Mr Justice Francis examined preliminary issues in the case at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court.

He said issues would be fully analysed at a hearing in early April, adding the case was “tragic”.

He heard that Charlie, who was born on August 4 2016, has a form of disease called mitochondrial depletion syndrome, which causes progressive muscle weakness.

A barrister representing doctors at Great Ormond Street gave some detail of the boy's difficulties.

Charlie Gard suffers from a form of mitochondrial disease that causes progressive muscle weakness (PA)

Katie Gollop QC said Charlie could not cry and was deaf.

She said doctors thought that withdrawal of life-support treatment would be in Charlie's best interests and told the judge: "The hospital's position is that every day that passes is a day that is not in the child's best interests."

Ms Gollop said Great Ormond Street specialists had considered the type of treatment Charlie's parents wanted him to have in America and decided against it.

Barrister Sophia Roper, who represents Charlie's parents, told the judge: "His parents believe that he is in much better shape than the hospital does."

Mr Justice Francis heard that a US hospital had agreed to accept Charlie as a patient if treatment could be paid for.

Charlie's parents are currently embroiled in a High Court battle with Great Ormond Street (PA)

Charlie's fundraising page says the a new pioneering treatment available, called nucleoside bypass therapy, could potentially repair Charlie’s mtDNA and help it synthase again by giving him the compounds that his body isn’t able to produce.

A spokesman for Great Ormond Street Hospital told the Standard: “Charlie has a very rare and complex disease, for which there is no accepted cure.

“Charlie was very unwell when he was admitted to Great Ormond Street Hospital and has remained under 24-hour care on our Intensive Care Unit.

"But his condition has continued to deteriorate and we now feel we have exhausted all available proven treatment options.

“We cannot imagine how hugely distressing this is for his family. We continue to support them in every way we can, while advocating, what we believe, is best for Charlie.”