Charlie Gard: Mother breaks down as Supreme Court appeal bid for sick baby’s US treatment fails

The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by the parents of a sick child, over plans to take him to the US for treatment. 

Chris Gard and Connie Yates are now hoping to take their case to the European Court of Human Rights after losing the court battle.

The baby’s mother broke down and screamed as today’s decision was announced.

Their 10-month-old son Charlie Gard suffers from a rare genetic condition and has brain damage.

Specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where Charlie is being cared for, say therapy proposed by a doctor in America is experimental and will not help.

They say life support treatment should stop.


Charlie Gard: Mother breaks down as Supreme Court appeal fails (PA)

A High Court judge in April ruled against a trip to America and in favour of Great Ormond Street doctors.

Mr Justice Francis concluded that life support treatment should end and said Charlie should be allowed to die with dignity.

Three Court of Appeal judges upheld that ruling in May.

A panel of three Supreme Court justices on Thursday dismissed the couple’s latest challenge after a hearing in London.

But justices said doctors should continue treating Charlie for 24 hours to give judges in Strasbourg, France, time to look at the case.

Ms Yates screamed as Supreme Court justices announced their decision.

Charlie’s mother left the hearing in tears and broke down outside the court room.

“How can they do this to us?” she yelled.

“They are lying. Why don’t they tell the truth?”

Mr Justice Francis had made a ruling on April 11 after a trial in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

He heard that Charlie, who was born on August 4 last year, had a form of mitochondrial disease, a condition which causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage.

Specialists in the USA have offered a therapy called nucleoside.


Chris Gard and Connie Yates, the parents of eight-month-old Charlie Gard, arrive at The Royal Courts of Justice in London (PA)

Mr Justice Francis said Great Ormond Street doctors had considered the experimental treatment, but decided it would not help Charlie.

Justices considered preliminary arguments and were asked to decide whether to give the go-ahead for a full appeal hearing.

Lady Hale, Deputy President of the Supreme Court and the most senior justice on the panel, said justices had decided to block the couple’s appeal bid.

She said any judge was bound to have the utmost sympathy with Charlie’s parents. But she said Mr Justice Francis had made decisions he was entitled to make. 

A Great Ormond Street spokeswoman said the thoughts of staff were with Charlie and his parents.

“This is a very sad day for Charlie’s parents and family,” she said.

“It is never easy when medical and judicial opinion goes against the wishes of the parents but our first responsibility at Great Ormond Street Hospital remains to put the interests of the child first and foremost.

“It is also hugely difficult for any clinically-trained professional to be asked to treat a child who has no chance of survival or even improvement in his quality of life.

“We are led by the legal process and when the time comes for a change in treatment, we will support the parents in every way that we can, aiding them through next steps. This would normally take place over at least a number of days.

“For now, our priority is to ensure Charlie remains well cared for and to offer our support to Charlie’s devoted parents at this distressing time.”

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