In a stunning display of how the United Kingdom health care system has taken over decisions that normally would be made by families, a judge has ordered that 11-month-old Charlie Gard, who has been battling a terminal condition, be moved from a hospital to a hospice for his last few days.
Not his parents’ home, as they had wanted.
The case has been replete with government decisions that overruled the parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, from months ago when they were stopped from pursuing experimental treatment for little Charlie, to this week, when they were forced to admit the time during which treatment would have been effective for their son now is gone.
The Telegraph said the parents wanted Charlie moved to their flat in Bedfont, west London, but a judge refused.
Lawyers for Great Ormond Street Hospital, where doctors earlier convinced the judge that it was better to let Charlie die than to allow his parents to seek treatment, objected to what the parents wanted.
“I hope you are happy with yourselves,” Yates said as she left the courtroom.
According to the report, “Speaking in court on Wednesday, Grant Armstrong, acting for Charlie’s parents, said Great Ormond Street Hospital nurses had volunteered to care for Charlie at a hospice if the judge agreed to it.”
The Telegraph noted Armstrong, who leads the couple’s legal team, suggested to the judge that hospital bosses were placing obstacles in Charlie’s parents’ way.
“The parents wish for a few days of tranquility outside of a hospital setting,” he said. “The parents had hoped that Great Ormond Street would work with them.”
He said the couple felt there was a “brutality” in taking Charlie to a hospice.
The couple had fought all the way to the European Court of Human Rights for permission to have their son treated, but were refused by judges at each step.
Lifenews reported Yates was crying during the hearing, and at one point shouted, “What if it was your child?”
Technically, the judge will announce his decision on whether to send the child to the hospice soon, but he had said that’s what would happen if the hospital and parents didn’t reach another agreement, and it appeared the hospital was unwilling to pursue anything the parents wanted.
It was on Monday, the parents ended their legal battle to get their son experimental treatment. They said they’d been told the time during which treatment could have helped their son had passed – while the hospital court battle was going on.
The child suffers from mitochondrial depletion syndrome, a rare genetic disease, and cannot breathe without help. His parents just on Monday announced they were giving up their legal fight against the hospital and their own government to obtain treatment.
Charlie’s parents said, after it became apparent that time had run out for their son, “A whole lot of time has been wasted.”
“We are now in July and our poor boy has been left to just lie in hospital for months without any treatment whilst lengthy court battles have been fought,” the parents’ said. “Tragically having had Charlie’s medical notes reviewed by independent experts, we now know had Charlie been given the treatment sooner, he would have had the potential to be a normal healthy little boy. Despite his condition in January, Charlie’s muscles were in pretty good shape and far from showing irreversible catastrophic structural brain damage.”
Bobby Schindler, brother of Terri Schiavo who has been in London assisting the Gard family with their court case, agreed.
“The U.K. medical and legal fields let Charlie languish and deteriorate to the point where treatments that have worked for other children like him no longer had a chance,” Schindler said. “Charlie Gard is a victim of a culture of medical indifference that turned out to be as corrosive and ultimately lethal as was his underlying genetic condition.”
“I remember the comfort my family received from the tremendous popular support we received from people all around the world,” he told WND.com.
Schiavo died in 2005 after a court ordered removal of her feeding tube and water at the request of her husband. Since then, Schindler has devoted himself to defending medically vulnerable people.
WND reported earlier this year on the 12th anniversary of the death of Terri Schiavo. The media and her husband, Michael Schiavo, asserted Terri was in a “persistent vegetative state,” but her parents and brother, Bobby Schindler, insisted otherwise, claiming she was able to swallow, laugh and express love for her family.
In 1990, Terri, at age 26, collapsed in her St. Petersburg, Florida, home for a reason that still hasn’t been explained and was taken to a hospital by first responders who feared she was dead. She was comatose for a time, then started responding and was moved to a care center. Her family members say she was getting better before her court-ordered starvation.
WND has been reporting on the Terri Schiavo story since 2002. Read WND’s unparalleled, in-depth coverage of her life-and-death fight, including more than 150 original stories and columns.