Baby Charlie Gard: Live or Die?
Baby Charlie Gard, ten-months old, surviving on life support, prognosis dismal, devoted, loving parents, BUT, the European court of human rights (ECHR) in England, has given the Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), where Charlie is a patient, the authority to remove life support from the baby boy, who suffers from a rare genetic condition and has brain damage. The parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, have been in a legal battle in hopes of sending the boy to the US to undergo a therapy trial. Hospital specialists insist the treatment is experimental and would not help. The couple, through crowdfunding, raised nearly two million dollars in their effort.
President Trump entered the difficult situation today by tweeting the following: “If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so.” Pope Francis is calling for the parents to be allowed to do everything possible to treat their child. It has been reported that the Pope is following the case “with affection and sadness” and was close to his parents: “For this he prays that their wish to accompany and treat their child until the end isn’t neglected.” After the couple lost their appeal to the ECHR, they lost in their final stage in a long legal fight to take the boy to the US for trial therapy. This results in the right for GOSH to withdraw his life support and allow him to die. The parents were preparing for this emotional experience late last week.
The British courts authorized the withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment saying it was highly possible Charlie would suffer significant harm if his life was prolonged without realistic prospect of an improvement. The courts based this on a human rights law, which says that the rights of a child should take precedence over the rights of a parent.
Apparently the decision has been made. It seems as though the courts are ‘assuming’ that Baby Gard has zero chance of his health improving. Therefore, the courts are taking it upon themselves to end his life. Meanwhile, the parents, who seem totally dedicated to the care and well-being of their son, have no say in what happens to their son. Another distressing situation happened late last week. The couple asked to take their son home to die. Their request was denied. Apparently no reason was given for the denial.
The final act, disconnecting the life support, has been delayed. Does this mean the public outcry is causing the hospital to reconsider their decision? If you could grant Baby Gard his life, knowing he has major health issues, what would you do?