Charlie Gard should not be put through more pain and suffering, says High Court Judge

Rachel Middleton
Charlie Gard

The parents of eight-month old Charlie Gard have vowed to continue their court battle to keep their son on life support and take him to US for pioneering treatment after a High Court ruled that doctors at the Great Ormond Street Hospital can withdraw life support.

Saying that they were "devastated" by the decision by Justice Francis, his parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard from London, said that they will appeal the decision.

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Charlie will remain on life-support until the appeal is heard, the hospital said. His parents have three weeks to lodge an appeal and their legal team is currently studying the ruling, the BBC reports.

Their solicitor, Laura Hobey-Hamster said that Charlie's parents could not understand why the judge had not "at least given Charlie the chance of treatment."

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Charlie, who was born on 4 August 2016, suffers from a rare genetic condition called mitochondrial depletion syndrome which causes progressive muscle weakness. He is believed to be one of only 16 sufferers from the disease.

The Family Division of the High Court was told how the disease is usually fatal in the first year, although children can survive for longer on ventilators.

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However, Charlie's parents disagree and want to take Charlie to a hospital in the US. They have so far raised around £1.27m for the treatment through a crowdfunding campaign, although it is still short of the £1.3m target.

The doctor in the US who is offering the treatment for six months, has made it clear that the nucleoside therapy is not a cure for the disease.

Best interest of Charlie to withdraw life support

Justice Francis said that he made the decision with the "heaviest of hearts" with the "complete conviction" that it was in the best interest of the child.

Charlie Gard

While paying tribute to the boy's parents for "their brave and dignified campaign on his behalf", the judge said: "I only hope in time they will come to accept it is in Charlie's best interests to let him slip away peacefully, and not put him through more pain and suffering.

When Justice Francis ruled that treatment for Charlie could be withdrawn, Gard shouted "no". Both Yates and Gard broke down and buried their heads in their hands. They left the courtroom without waiting to hear the judge's full statement on his ruling.

A statement from the Great Ormond Street Hospital, which was issued following the High Court ruling, said: "Our focus now is to work with Charlie's family to plan for the next stages in Charlie's care."

It said that it had obtained "multiple external opinions as to whether therapy could improve Charlie's chance of survival or quality of life" but ath the "consensus ... was that it would not."

Funds still being raised despite court ruling

Despite the ruling, people were still going to the GoFundMe page and donating money for Charlie.

Patti Woodbury who donated money said in the GoFundMe page: "Your Charlie does deserve a chance. No matter the outcome, the opportunity for Charlie's treatment to help others is priceless."

Similarly, another donor, Becky Taylor wrote: "Good luck Charlie. Appeal appeal appeall!!"

A GoFundMe spokesman told BBC that it will "be speaking privately to the family" about what would happen to the funds raised so far.

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