In an already highly tense and extremely emotional hearing on Thursday regarding the life or death of British 11-month-old Charlie Gard, a comment made by the judge sent the baby’s parents over the edge.
Justice Nicholas Francis—who was also the first judge to hear and reject Connie Yates and Chris Gard’s motion to bring their terminally ill son to the United States for treatment—made a statement during Thursday’s hearing that sent Chris and Connie spiraling.
The couple stormed out of the courtroom—leaving their son’s beloved toy monkey behind—after Judge Francis said that the parents had previously said they did not want to prolong Charlie’s life in his present state unless there was hope of improving.
Connie immediately became enraged and shouted, “I never said that!”
Both she and Chris responded by walking out of the courtroom, and taking some time to cool down outside the building. The judge proceeded to clarify that one of the two parents had in fact made said statement in an earlier trial.
As Faithit previously reported, Chris and Connie have been granted a new hearing for their appeal to bring their son Charlie to the United States for experimental treatment after being rejected by the High Court, Court of Appeals, Supreme Court in London and the European Court of Human Rights.
They’ve raised nearly $2 million in their fight to save Charlie’s life.
A petition with over 350,000 signatures led the Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London to bring the couple back to court this week after they reported “new evidence” of success with the treatment they’re seeking.
The couple’s legal battle began when doctors at GOSH took them to court with the belief that Charlie, who has an extremely rare DNA disorder, was suffering. They were adamant that no treatment could reverse his brain damage and that he should be able to “die with dignity,” against Chris and Connie’s wishes.
Even through the most difficult fight of their lives, the parents have made it clear that they are not giving up.
During the hearing on Thursday morning, a family representative released the following statement on their behalf:
“We are continuing to spend every moment working around the clock to save our dear baby Charlie. We’ve been requesting this specialized treatment since November, and never asked the hospital, the courts, or anyone for anything except for the permission to go.”
“We’ve raised over £1.3 million, and have had invitations from specialized doctors in the US and Italy. They’ve offered their groundbreaking treatment to us, and are confident that they can help Charlie. We will continue to make the case for us to seek treatment for Charlie with doctors that are actually specialized in mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, and we hope that the judge and the courts will finally rule in favor of us seeking treatment elsewhere.”
Judge Francis has said Charlie’s fate will be decided on July 25.
Hospitals across the United States and Italy have welcomed Charlie for treatment, and high-capacity leaders including President Donald Trump and Pope Francis have offered their prayers and support to the family.