Charlie Gard: A timeline of the heartbreaking case as parents drop legal battle

Charlie Gard has a rare genetic condition
Charlie Gard has a rare genetic condition

The parents of Charlie Gard have decided to end their legal fight over whether their terminally ill baby should be given experimental treatment in the US.

Ahead of a hearing at the High Court today, Chris Gard and Connie Yates said that “time has run out” for their son after a five-month battle.

The plight of the infant, who suffers from a rare genetic condition, has drawn international sympathy and seen interventions from the Pope and Donald Trump.

The couple, however, have failed to persuade judges in England and Europe to let the take their son to New York to be treated.


August 4, 2016 — Charlie Gard is born a ”perfectly healthy” baby at full term.

September 2016 — Charlie’s parents notice that he is less able to lift his head and support himself than other babies of a similar age. Doctors discover that he has a rare inherited disease — infantile onset encephalomyopathy mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome (MDDS).

October 2016 — Charlie has become lethargic and his breathing is shallow and he is transferred to the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London on October 11.

January 2017 — A crowd-funding page is set up to help finance trial therapy in the United States.

March 3, 2017 — Great Ormond Street bosses ask Mr Justice Francis to rule that life-support treatment should stop.

April 11 — Mr Justice Francis says doctors can stop providing life-support treatment after analysing the case at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

May 3 — Charlie’s parents ask Court of Appeal judges to consider the case.

May 23 — Three Court of Appeal judges analyse the case and dismiss the couple’s appeal two days later.

June 8 — Charlie’s parents lose fight in the Supreme Court — his mother screams as justices announce their decision.

MORE: Charlie Gard given US citizenship by Congress so he can fly to US for treatment
MORE: Charlie Gard’s parents back in court after ‘backlash’ over hospital death threats

June 20 — Judges in the European Court of Human Rights start to analyse the case after lawyers representing Charlie’s parents make written submissions.

Chris Gard and Connie Yates outside the High Court (Rex)
Chris Gard and Connie Yates outside the Royal Courts of Justice today (Rex)

June 27 — European court judges refuse to intervene. A Great Ormond Street spokeswoman says the European Court decision marks ”the end” of a ”difficult process”. She says there will be ”no rush” to change Charlie’s care and says there will be ”careful planning and discussion”.

June 29 — Charlie’s parents say his life-support will be switched off on Friday June 30.

June 30 — They say Great Ormond Street has agreed to ”give us a little bit more time” with Charlie. They ask for privacy ”while we prepare to say the final goodbye”.

July 2 — Pope Francis calls for the couple to be allowed to ”accompany and treat their child until the end”, saying he has followed the case with ”affection and sadness”.

July 3 — US President Donald Trump intervenes, tweeting: ”If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the UK and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so.”

July 4 — Bambino Gesu, the Vatican’s children’s hospital in Rome, offers to take Charlie in.

July 10 — Charlie’s parents return to the High Court and ask Mr Justice Francis to carry out a fresh analysis of the case. Mr Justice Francis says he will consider any new evidence.

July 17 — Michio Hirano, the New York neurology professor who offered to treat Charlie, travels to London to examine the little boy, discuss the case with Great Ormond Street doctors and other clinicians and examine fresh scans.

July 21 — Lawyer representing Great Ormond Street says new scan makes for ”sad reading”.

July 22 — Great Ormond Street chairwoman Mary MacLeod says doctors and nurses have been subjected to abuse in the street and received thousands of threatening messages in recent weeks.

July 44 — Chris Gard and Connie Yates announce that they are ending their legal battle. Yates tells High Court: “We only wanted to give him a chance of life”