Support for sick British infant Charlie Gard and his parents has been flooding in from all across the world.
On Sunday, Charlie’s parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, delivered a petition with more than 370,000 signatures asking that Charlie be allowed to go to the United States for treatment, according to Breitbart.
Charlie suffers from a rare mitochondrial disease, and his parents want to take him to the United States for an experimental treatment that has helped other children with similar diseases. They raised more than $1 million for his care. But two weeks ago, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that a hospital can remove Charlie’s life support and allow him to die.
Late last week, amid public outcry and new evidence about Charlie’s condition, officials at Great Ormond Street Hospital said they would not turn off his life support yet.
At a press conference Sunday, Chris Gard thanked people across the world for supporting their family so much, especially people in the United States and Italy, according to Breitbart.
“We are trying to take our son from one hospital where they do a lot of specialities there,” Gard said. “It’s a fantastic hospital. They do great things there. Unfortunately, they are not specialists in Charlie’s condition. The specialists are in America.”
Charlie’s parents said they know there is not a huge chance of success with the new treatment, but there is a chance of success and they want to give that to Charlie.
“There are now seven doctors supporting us from Italy, America, and England, as well, that think that this [treatment] has a chance,” Connie Yates said. “There is an up to 10 per cent chance [of success] and we feel that is a chance worth taking. We’ve been fighting for this medication since November. We are now in July.
“He’s our son, he’s our flesh and blood. We feel it should be our right as parents to decide to give him a chance at life,” she continued.
The online petition for Charlie had more than 390,000 signatures as of Monday morning.
On Friday, hospital officials said they will not turn off Charlie’s life support yet, and they are seeking a new court hearing about his case.
However, Wesley Smith, a pro-life attorney who has been following the case, is skeptical of the good news:
The cynic in me worries that the hospital wants to discredit the proposed experimental treatment and/or the ability to move Charlie to a different hospital.
Bad Wesley! That would just be a PR move that would have nothing to do with acting in the “best interests” of Charlie. So let us assume the hospital is acting in good faith until we have reason to believe otherwise.
In any event, it almost surely means the boy’s life support will not be immediately removed.
It is truly heartening that the life of a dying baby can still move the world.
Meanwhile, Charlie’s parents are working with Terri Schiavo’s brother Bobby Schindler in London to help fight for care for their son.
Schindler told LifeNews: “We are here by invitation from the family to come alongside them as they struggle to save their son, Charlie. The critical issue here is not a political one, but the simple notion that families know what is best for their loved ones.”
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 also protested the court ruling in London over the past two weeks.
Last October, Charlie entered Great Ormond Street Hospital in London 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.
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. Last week, 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.