Published: Mon, July 24, 2017
Medical | By Rita Mcdonald

Charlie Gard's parents consider options as legal battle continues

Charlie Gard's parents consider options as legal battle continues

Staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London have been bombarded with death threats over the case of terminally-ill Charlie Gard.

Reacting to the abuse directed at staff Mary MacLeod, chairman of the hospital, said in a statement: "Great Ormond Street Hospital cares for many thousands of seriously unwell children every year, providing outstanding treatment for those who need it most".

Charlie suffers from a rare genetic condition and has brain damage, is now the subject of an intense legal battle over his treatment.

Charlie's parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard have fought a high-profile legal battle against GOSH to have their son, who was born on 4 August 2016, flown to America to receive the highly experimental nucleoside treatment. They are fighting to remove the infant from life support in an attempt to allow him to "die with dignity".

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Pro-lifers in this country and the USA have taken up the case of Charlie while his parents continue their High Court battle, where a judge has been hearing evidence about the potential of the experimental treatment. In some cases parents of other sick children have been harassed while trying to visit, they said. Staff have received abuse both in the street and on line.

"In recent weeks the GOSH community has been subjected to a shocking and disgraceful tide of hostility and disturbance".

In a statement, Mr Gard said: "Without the excellent care of the doctors at GOSH [Great Ormond Street Hospital] our son would not even be alive and not a day goes by when we don't remember that".

Sir Keir Starmer, Labour MP for the area, said it was "understandable that people feel very strongly about the case" but the abuse of staff was "totally unacceptable".

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Charlie's parents have, however, received support from Pope Francis, U.S. President Donald Trump and some members of the U.S. Congress.

The pre-hearing Friday was the latest step in his parents' long legal battle to give Charlie, who suffers from mitochondrial depletion syndrome and can not breathe unaided, an experimental treatment. "We fully understand that there is intense public interest, and that emotions run high", she added.

The court is due to hold a hearing on Monday to consider the latest medical evidence.

A lawyer representing the hospital said in a brief hearing Friday that the latest brain scan results make for "sad reading".

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Charlie's mother spent this week meeting with doctors at the hospital and the American specialist, Michio Hirano, according to the Associated Press.

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