A Vatican hospital says it is ready and willing to care for British infant Charlie Gard if the courts allow him to go.
The 10-month-old’s fate remains uncertain after the European Court of Human Rights ruled against his parents’ appeal to take him to the United States for an experimental treatment. A British court also ruled that his life support can be removed against his parents’ wishes.
Charlie suffers from a rare mitochondrial disease and brain damage. His parents raised more than $1 million to pay for his medical care. However, Charlie’s parents now have exhausted their legal options as court after court has denied them the ability to provide life-saving care and medical treatment for their son.
The Italian news outlet Zenit reports leaders of the Bambino Jesus pediatric hospital in Rome, Italy said they are willing to care for Charlie if the courts will allow him to be transferred to their hospital.
Mariella Enoc, president of the Catholic hospital, said they are praying for Charlie and his parents through this difficult time, and they hope to help the family in whatever way they can.
“… I asked the Health Director to verify with London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, where [Charlie] is hospitalized, if the health conditions exist for Charlie’s eventual transfer to our hospital,” Enoc said. “We know that the case is desperate and that, apparently, effective therapies do not exist.”
She quoted Pope Francis, who said, “Defend human life, especially when it is wounded by sickness, is a commitment of love that God entrusts to every man.”
Prayers and support for Charlie have been flooding in from across the world, including from Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump. Hundreds of people protested the court ruling in London over the weekend.
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Charlie entered Great Ormond Street Hospital in London in October and was diagnosed with a form of mitochondrial disease that causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage. His parents discovered that 18 people in the United States have been treated with an experimental medication to remedy the rare condition. Reports have not identified the doctor who agreed to treat Charlie, but it was noted that his parents were aware that no cure was promised.
Charlie’s parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, have been advocating for their son for months. In March, however, Charlie’s doctors recommended that they remove his life support, saying there was nothing more they could do to help him. The little boy suffered brain damage from his disease and cannot breathe on his own.
But Charlie’s parents took the matter to court, and eventually appealed their case to the European Court of Human Rights. On Wednesday, the high court ruled against them and will not permit them to seek alternative treatments for their son, according to The Guardian.
The judges said they did not think Charlie would benefit from the experimental treatment, and it could cause him greater pain and suffering.
“The domestic courts had concluded, on the basis of extensive, high-quality expert evidence, that it was most likely Charlie was being exposed to continued pain, suffering and distress and that undergoing experimental treatment with no prospects of success would offer no benefit, and continue to cause him significant harm,” they stated in the ruling.
His parents said they are “heartbroken.” They said they are not even allowed to take him home.
On Monday, Charlie’s mother, Connie Yates, posted a message on Twitter saying that they have not completely given up.
“If he’s still fighting, we’re still fighting!!!” she wrote.
The hospital is expected to turn off Charlie’s life support within a week.
As Townhall editor Christine Rousselle wrote in reaction to the ruling: “It’s absurd that a court can claim to know what’s in Charlie’s best interest. His parents are neither negligent nor incompetent, and they should not be prohibited from trying a last-ditch effort to try to improve their son’s life. Further, the fact that they’re not allowed to choose when and where to withdraw life support on their terms is maddening. This is a sickening violation of basic humanity.”