Emotion-charged Charlie Gard case to continue

Bryan Strickland
July 12, 2017

A British court has given the parents of terminally ill 11-month-old Charlie Gard a fresh chance to present evidence as to why they should be allowed to take their son to the United States for experimental treatment.

Judge Nicholas Francis gave the couple until Wednesday afternoon to present the evidence and set a new hearing for Thursday.

The re-opening of the case at London's High Court may allow Charlie to receive the experimental treatment at his current hospital or overseas.

Justice Francis, who presided over Gard's initial case and ruled that he should be denied treatment and taken off life support, said that he would only overturn his initial ruling if the evidence for nucleoside bypass treatment is "new and powerful".

The hospital said on Friday it would let the courts re-examine claims that he could be treated, citing "fresh evidence" after US President Donald Trump and Pope Francis drew worldwide attention to the case.

Gard suffers from a rare disease called mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome which causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage.

Charlie's parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, have received wide public support, while right-to-life groups have intervened in their cause.

"This is not an issue about money or resources, but absolutely about what is right for Charlie", said the hospital. "There is a tremendous amount of hope here".

Charlie Gard

Charlie's parents were overcome with emotion during Monday's hearing.

The child's father yelled at a barrister representing the hospital during Monday's hearing, saying "When are you going to start telling the truth?" Connie Yates reportedly asked the judge.

"If he's still fighting, we're still fighting", she said.

The British government says the treatment would be extremely painful for the baby and would like for him to stay in Britain, but in Dr. Marc Siegel's opinion, the parents should be in charge.

Armstrong claimed that Francis' previous decision against the parents' request in April raises questions about his capability to hear the latest case fairly, though the judge insisted he very strongly wants Gard to live.

"I did my job", he said.

"As a mother, I could not stand by as Charlie's parents so bravely fought to seek life-saving care for their son", Foster continued.

Speaking to the BBC before Monday's hearing, Yates said the couple had endured a "living hell" over recent months, saying "it's frightful that this decision has been taken out of our hands".

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