A father from Baltimore is speaking out this week on behalf of terminally ill 11-month-old Charlie Gard, saying that his parents should have the right to seek experimental treatment in the U.S., after the same medical procedures helped save his son’s life.
Art Estopinan’s 6-year-old son, Arturito, was born with a similar type of mitochondrial depletion syndrome as British infant Charlie Gard.
According to The Sun UK, Arturito was the first person in the United States to receive experimental nucleoside therapy—the same treatment Chris Gard and Connie Yates are fighting to bring their son, Charlie, to the U.S. to receive.
It’s been six years since Arturito was given just two months to live, as the condition—which has only been found in 16 people EVER—causes rapid weakening of the muscles and brain damage.
Not only is he alive today because of the experimental treatments, but Arturito is able to move his hands, feet, fingers and arms.
“We feel very fortunate to be American and not British—because if we lived in the U.K. Arturito would surely be dead by now,” Art explained in a heated debate on Good Morning Britain. “How insensitive when there is a treatment which could save Charlie’s life and eminent doctors in the U.S. who are willing to help him.”
Art says his son is a “happy boy.” He’s adamant that Charlie Gard should be given the same chance at life as his son was six years ago.
The American dad has been in contact with Chris and Connie throughout the ongoing legal battle in which doctors at the Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London—where Charlie is being treated—believe the boy should be allowed to “die with dignity,” against his parents’ wishes.
Chris and Connie sought consideration from judges in the High Court, Court of Appeals, Supreme Court in London and the European Court of Human Rights—all of which have now ruled in favor of the doctors’ motion to remove Charlie from life support.
“Charlie Gard is a human being and he deserves the opportunity to live,” Art said. “We are beyond shocked that doctors in the U.K. are saying Charlie should ‘die with dignity.’”
After delivering a petition with over 350,000 signatures to medical staff at GOSH over the weekend, judges in the High Court are re-hearing Chris and Connie’s appeal this Monday morning.
Charlie was set to be taken off of life support over a week ago, but an outpouring of support from people like Art, President Donald Trump and Pope Francis have prolonged the fight for Charlie’s survival.
Praise be to God for the healing and development of 6-year-old Arturito. My prayer is that Charlie will be given the same shot at life.