More than 350,000 people have signed a petition demanding that terminally ill 11-month-old Charlie Gard be allowed to receive treatment in the United States after multiple European Courts repeatedly shot down the parents’ appeal.
His parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, have made global news in the fight for their son’s life.
Last week, just days after receiving a devastating verdict from the European Court of Human Rights, Chris and Connie delivered the petition to the staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where their son is essentially being held hostage until his life support machine is shut off.
“He’s our son, he’s our flesh and blood. We feel that it should be our right as parents to decide to give him a chance at life,” Connie said in a statement.
Last week, both President Donald Trump and Pope Francis spoke out in support of Charlie, offering refuge and solace wherever they are allowed. Two members of congress have urged Trump to grant the child American citizenship—however the battle still lies within the walls of Great Ormond Street Hospital.
The petition has also launched a new appeal with the High Court which will be re-heard Monday morning.
Britain’s justice secretary has since released a statement saying the government won’t play a role in deciding the medical treatment of Charlie Gard. The decision will be made by judges acting “independent and dispassionately” based on the facts of the complicated case.
Chris and Connie’s lawyer says recently surfaced data on treatment for Charlie could produce “dramatic clinical improvement,” so a High Court judge has agreed to review “fresh evidence” on the case. According to BBC, “Lawyers representing the family have now said using ‘cutting edge genetic science’ there was a ‘small chance’ of brain recovery and that it was a chance ‘worth taking.'”
As previously reported by Faithit, Charlie was born healthy in August of 2016, but was diagnosed with an extremely rare DNA disorder at just two months old. Mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome is a terminal condition believed to have only been found in 16 people ever. It causes rapid weakening of the muscles and brain damage—making treatments almost completely nonexistent.
However, there is a group of doctors with an experimental drug in the United States. Chris and Connie have raised over $1.6 million to bring their son to the U.S. in hopes that the therapy trial may give him a shot at life.
Charlie’s Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital felt otherwise—that the child should be able to “die with dignity.” The medical professionals took Chris and Connie to court over the matter in which judges ruled in favor of the doctors—stripping the parents of their rights over Charlie’s medical treatments.
After Chris and Connie sought consideration from judges in the High Court, Court of Appeals and Supreme Court in London—all of which ruled in favor of the doctors’ motion to remove Charlie from life support—they pressed for one final deliberation from the European court judges in Strasbourg, France, to consider their case.
The ECHR considered the appeal for nearly 10 days before making the decision to rule in favor of the doctors.
As if the blow wasn’t devastating enough already, doctors refused the parents’ request to bring their son home to die.
As Christians, we know that the only One who has dictatorship over life is the One who gives life itself. Continued prayers today for Chris and Connie as they face judges again in the fight for Charlie’s life.
We hope that sharing Charlie’s story will provoke prayers among the masses—that God would be the only one to write this little boy’s story, and that His mighty hand would be all over this case.