Medics treating terminally ill baby Charlie Gard have been subjected to death threats by online trolls.
Mr Justice Francis, the judge overseeing the youngster’s case, said it was inexcusable that staff treating Charlie at Great Ormond Street Hospital should be on the receiving end of “vile abuse”.
During yesterday’s (Thursday) hearing at the High Court in London, the judge heard that medics had received abuse both on social media and by post.
He promised to deal with any such instances that presented themselves to him as “severely as the legal system permits”.
He was also critical of those who have chosen to protest outside Great Ormond Street, saying: “Demonstrations outside a children’s hospital are really unlikely to help.”
Baby Charlie has brain damage and a rare genetic condition. He is unable to breathe without the aid of a ventilator and can’t see, hear, move or cry.
Great Ormond Street doctors have argued that Charlie’s life support should be withdrawn.
But Charlie’s parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, hope that the judge will rule in favour of them taking their son to the United States for experimental treatment.
They believe that new evidence – presented to the court by a US neurologist via video link – is sufficient cause for the judge to reconsider their case.
The American doctor, who can’t be named because of a court order, said that tests of new drugs on mice with a genetic impairment similar to Charlie’s had showed improved brain function; the mice had also lived longer. He confirmed that Charlie’s condition couldn’t be fixed or cured, however.