Charlie Gard given US citizenship by Congress so he can fly to US for treatment

Andy Wells
Freelance Writer

Terminally-ill baby Charlie Gard has been given US citizenship by Congress so that he can fly to the country for experimental treatment.

The 11-month-old’s parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, are being prevented from taking him out of the country by doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), who want to switch off his life support.

But the situation could now become more complex after the baby was made an American citizen.

Jeff Fortenberry, Republican U.S. Representative for Nebraska, tweeted: “We just passed amendment that grants permanent resident status to #CharlieGard and family so Charlie can get the medical treatment he needs.”

GOSH may now be forced to release Charlie, who is suffering brain damage, as an American citizen, enabling him to travel to the States so he can be treated for a rare genetic condition.

The citizenship comes after Ms Yates met two international experts at GOSH to discuss her son’s condition.

The meeting, which lasted more than five hours, was also attended by medics from the London hospital.

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It came a day after Charlie was examined by Michio Hirano, a professor of neurology at Columbia University in New York, who flew to the UK to see him.

The little boy’s parents Chris Gard and Connie Yates want a judge to rule that their son should be allowed to undergo a therapy trial overseen by Dr Hirano in the US.

A spokesman for the couple said the family would not be commenting on the meeting “as this is a judicial matter” and they do not wish to say anything that could potentially harm Charlie’s case.

Connie Yates and Chris Gard want to take their son Charlie to America for experimental treatment (Rex)

Dr Hirano, who has claimed an experimental drug could potentially save Charlie, was given full access to Charlie’s medical records and hospital and clinical facilities, including diagnostic images, for four and a half hours.

Great Ormond Street said it would be for the court to decide the next steps regarding Charlie.

Specialists from the hospital say that treatment will not work, and the little boy’s life support should be turned off.

His parents, from Bedfont, west London, have already lost battles in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.

They also failed to persuade European Court of Human Rights’ judges to intervene.

Top pic: PA