Connie Yates and Chris Gard just wanted to give their son, Charlie, a chance at life.
For months, they have been battling for the right to take their son to the United States for an experimental treatment and only gave up earlier this week when medical experts said their no longer is any hope for Charlie.
Possibly at their lowest moment yet, the British family said they are receiving hate mail criticizing them for fighting for their son, The Sun reports.
One email shared by Chris Gard called them “despicable and vile” parents who embarked on the court battle for fame and money, not their son. Letter writers also have called them “selfish” and “frauds” who “don’t give a s— about Charlie.”
“A taster of what lovely messages we receive as we prepare for the hardest time in our lives,” Chris Gard wrote when he shared the hate mail. “Thankfully we do receive some nice messages too …”
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Charlie’s parents have been very clear about their intentions. His parents said they knew the chance of the experimental treatment working was slim, but they wanted to try anyway for Charlie’s sake. The 11-month-old British infant has a rare mitochondrial disease and brain damage. His parents and Great Ormond Street Hospital have been in a months-long legal battle over his treatment.
Several weeks ago, Charlie’s mother, Connie Yates, told Good Morning Britain that she does not want her son to suffer.
“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.”
Charlie’s parents currently are asking the court to allow them to take their son home to die. It is their last request.
“We promised Charlie every day we would take him home. It seems really upsetting, after everything we’ve been through, to deny us this,” his mother said.
Earlier today, Connie Yates left the courtroom in tears after the judge in the case said Charlie would have to die in a hospice if his parents and the London hospital can’t come to an agreement about where he will be when his life support is removed.
The hospital opposes the parents’ request to take Charlie home. Its lawyers argued that Charlie needs to stay at the hospital or go to a hospice facility until he dies. Doctors claimed his ventilator will not fit through the door of his parents’ home, and he could suffer a painful death.
Charlie’s parents have long expressed the desire to be allowed to put him on hospice and take him home to die. However, their first choice was to take Charlie to the United States for an experimental treatment. They raised more than $1.5 million for his medical care.
His parents said they knew the chance of the experimental treatment working was slim, but they wanted to try anyway for Charlie’s sake.
However, the courts and hospital 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 later agreed to consider new evidence involving Charlie’s condition before taking him off the ventilator.
But on Monday, lawyer Grant Armstrong said medical experts confirmed that it is too late to treat their son.
The BBC reports Armstrong “told the presiding judge Mr Justice Francis that US neurologist Dr Michio Hirano had said he was no longer willing to offer the baby experimental therapy after he saw the results of a new MRI scan last week.”
Hirano previously said Charlie had an 11 percent to 56 percent chance of benefiting from the experimental treatment. He and a group of doctors examined Charlie last week and gave their expert opinions to the judge.
Questions remain about whether Charlie could have benefited from the experimental treatment, had it not been delayed for months during the legal battle between Charlie’s parents and the hospital. The court battle began in March.
In the Royal Court of Justice in London, Connie stated, “Charlie was left to lie [in Great Ormond Street Hospital] and deteriorate. We wanted Charlie to have the chance … [there] was never false hope, as confirmed by many experts. Now we’ll never know…” Connie and Chris underscored that they “should have been trusted as parents.”
The hospital said it and its staff also have been the target of harassment and threats.