A judge ruled Wednesday that Charlie Gard, the critically ill British toddler whose case has made worldwide headlines, cannot spend his final days at home and will be transferred to a hospice to spend his final days unless the hospital and Gard’s parents can reach an agreement to keep him on life support longer, The Associated Press reported.
“It is in Charlie’s best interests to be moved to a hospice and for him at that point to be moved to a palliative care regime only,” High Court Judge Nicholas Francis ruled.
He gave the parents until noon on Thursday to work out with the hospital details to keep Gard alive longer. However, on Thursday, Great Ormond Street Hospital announced the judge had decided Gard could not spend “significant time” in hospice.
“In the absence of agreement between the guardian and (the hospital) and the proposed intensive care treating team for provision of intensive care in a hospice setting for an extended period of a few days, by 12noon 27 July 2017, it shall be lawful and in the best interests of Charlie … for artificial ventilation to be withdrawn after a period set out in the confidential annexe,” the judge’s ruling read, according to the London Guardian.
“Sadly, as the judge has now ruled, there is simply no way that Charlie, a patient with such severe and complex needs, can spend any significant time outside of an intensive care environment safely,” a spokeswoman with the hospital said.
“The risk of an unplanned and chaotic end to Charlie’s life is an unthinkable outcome for all concerned and would rob his parents of precious last moments with him.
“As the judge has now ruled, we will arrange for Charlie to be transferred to a specialist children’s hospice, whose remarkable and compassionate staff will support his family at this impossible time.”
The boy’s parents had hoped to spend “a week or so” with their son before he was taken off of his ventilator. Once the ventilator is removed, Charlie is only expected to survive a few hours at most.
The case garnered international attention after his parents unsuccessfully tried to get him moved from the United Kingdom to the United States to undergo experimental treatment denied to him by doctors in Britain.
However, Connie Yates and Chris Gard gave up their fight earlier this week after tests revealed that Charlie had suffered irreversible muscle damage from mitochondrial depletion syndrome, the rare condition he suffers from.
They had tried to bring him home, but the ruling dashed that hope. Leaving court on Wednesday, Yates was clearly distressed.
“What if it was your child?” she asked the judges, sobbing, according to the AP. “I hope you are happy with yourselves.”
The judge called the situation a “very, very sad conclusion” to the case.
We agree. And it’s a conclusion that could have — and should have — been avoided at almost every step of the way.
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