Charlie Gard Deserves a Chance at Life: He’s Not a Vegetable or a Hopeless Case

Opinion   |   Maria Gallagher   |   Jul 17, 2017   |   1:09PM   |   Washington, DC

It was one of those small, seemingly insignificant details that might have passed the perception of many people reading about the Charlie Gard case. The CNN online news report noted that, as little Charlie’s parents exited the courtroom where they were pleading for the life of their son, his father carried his “favorite stuffed monkey” in his breast pocket.

My mind immediately traveled back to the stuffed monkey that was my daughter’s favorite toy, a comical-looking character she called “Tanny” in honor of his tan-colored fur.

Tanny remains in a bedroom closet, and every time I catch a glimpse of him while pulling out a jacket, I am reminded of those days when my daughter never wanted to be separated from him.

When he went to court in a valiant effort to obtain treatment for his son, Chris Gard took a talisman with him that was precious to him because it was precious to his son. The UK hospital which wants to cut his life short says the 11-month-old is “without any awareness.” And yet, both his father and news correspondents can identify Charlie’s favorite stuffed animal.

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People throughout the world defy doctors’ expectations every year. They outlive dire predictions and manage to survive as a result of the miracles of modern technology, family support, and their own refusal to give up. It is not up to a doctor, a judge, or a bureaucrat to impose a death sentence on an innocent patient.

Charlie Gard is not a vegetable, nor is he a hopeless case. He is a precious, irreplaceable son. His parents have a right to pursue every possible avenue in an effort to save his life. They should have more to hold onto than his favorite stuffed monkey.