Pro-life Congressmen gave Charlie Gard new hope this week when they granted the British infant and his parents permanent residence in the United States.
U.S. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, a pro-life Republican from Nebraska, announced the news Tuesday on Twitter.
“We just passed amendment that grants permanent resident status to #CharlieGard and family so Charlie can get the medical treatment he needs,” Fortenberry wrote.
Pro-life Congressman Kevin Yoder, a Republican from Kansas, added:
— Rep. Kevin Yoder (@RepKevinYoder) July 18, 2017
Charlie’s parents and his hospital are involved in an on-going legal battle over his medical care. The 11-month-old British infant suffers from a mitochondrial disease and brain damage.
Chris Gard and Connie Yates want to take their son to the United States for an experimental treatment. They raised more than $1 million for his care, and said they want to give Charlie every chance at life.
His parents said they know the chance of the experimental treatment working is slim, but they want to try anyway for Charlie’s sake.
But so far, the courts and hospital have refused to allow them to transfer their son to another hospital. About a month ago, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the hospital can remove Charlie’s life support and allow him to die. However, the hospital recently agreed to consider new evidence involving Charlie’s condition before taking him off the ventilator.
The U.S. Congressional move may or may not help Charlie because British courts – not Charlie’s parents — are deciding where he may and may not be taken.
However it is understood that the 11-month-old still cannot be removed from Great Ormond Street hospital (GOSH) without the permission of the UK courts despite the US move.
Whitehall sources said the visa offer would make no difference as he is not allowed to travel to the US under an existing court direction.
Mr Justice Francis, the High Court judge who has been hearing appeals by Chariie’s parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard for him to be offered an experimental therapy by a US doctor, has to be informed of any plans to move him from GOSH.
“It would be entirely wrong for him to be transferred without my being involved,” Justice Francis said Friday, according to the Daily Mail.
This week, a United States specialist on mitochondrial disease flew to London to examine Charlie. Details from the examination have not been made public yet. A judge is scheduled to review the examination next week and determine whether Charlie will be allowed to try the experimental treatment.
Charlie’s parents also released a photo this week that shows him appearing to look at a toy; the hospital says the boy is blind and cannot move.
The hospital maintains that Charlie’s case is hopeless because he does not have a chance of any “quality of life,” according to the Birmingham Mail.
Doctors caring for Charlie at the London hospital unanimously agree that it would be best for him to have his ventilator withdrawn and allowed to die, according to the hospital.
“That is because in the view of his treating team and all those from whom GOSH obtained second opinions, he has no quality of life and no real prospect of any quality of life,” according to the statement.
However, Dr. Michio Hirano, MD, a Harvard-trained neurologist, examined Charlie this week to provide his opinion about experimental treatment. He previously said he thinks the 11-month-old has a chance of benefiting from the therapy.
Despite all of his problems, Charlie’s parents – and millions like them – believe that Charlie is a valuable, living human being who should be given a chance to live.
“They wish to exhaust all possible options,” said Richard Gordon, a lawyer for Charlie and his parents. “They don’t want to look back and think ‘what if?’. This court should not stand in the way of their only remaining hope.”
Yates told told Good Morning Britain last week, “I’ve heard from doctors that there’s around a 10 percent chance of this working for Charlie so I think that’s a good enough chance to take.”
She said she does not want her son to suffer. She said it has been “absolute living hell” to wait and wonder when the hospital might end his life support.
“He’s our own flesh and blood and we don’t even have a say in his life whatsoever,” Yates said. “We are not bad parents, we are there for him all the time, we are completely devoted to him and he’s not in pain and suffering, and I promise everyone I would not sit there and watch my son in pain and suffering, I couldn’t do it.”