The parents of terminally ill infant Charlie Gard were just offered a new lifeline in their ongoing battle to save their son’s life.
British courts originally decided to pull the plug on life support after refusing to release the 11-month-old infant from the hospital to seek treatment in the U.S. With no other hope for their baby, the parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, decided to make a heart-wrenching, last-ditch effort to save their baby through a social media campaign.
@dailymail – Their poignant family picnic on the roof of the world-renowned London hospital was organised as a surprise for them by nurses moved by the devoted parents’ plight.Miss Yates, 31, a carer, said: ‘Charlie was awake the whole time. It was wonderful for him to feel the sun on his face and the wind in his hair.‘We put on some music and Chris and I lay down next to Charlie. For the first time in months we felt like a normal family.’It was a rare break away from the tension of hospital wards and courtrooms for the young family. Speaking for the first time since the Supreme Court decision last week, Miss Yates said she and Mr Gard, 32, a postman, felt they had been ‘terribly let down’ by the British courts.She told the Daily Mail: ‘We feel terribly let down by the UK justice system. We are still shocked that the Supreme Court wouldn’t even hear our appeal.‘The doctor in America says he believes there is no reason why the therapy won’t work for Charlie. Any parent would battle on as we have. We can’t give up knowing there is a treatment available which could save his life.’
And it gained worldwide attention, even sparking the interest of President Donald Trump and Pope Francis. Both offered to do anything they could to help the baby:
If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 3, 2017
After the Vatican released a statement showing its support for the baby, the pope tweeted this:
To defend human life, above all when it is wounded by illness, is a duty of love that God entrusts to all.
— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) June 30, 2017
With so much media attention surrounding the case, British officials decided to hit pause on pulling life support and are taking a second look at the case. Yesterday, Mr. Justice Francis extended an invitation to American neurologist Dr. Michio Hirano to fly to the U.K. to examine the baby on Monday. The Columbia University doctor accepted the offer.
— Vincent McAviney (@Vinny_LBC) July 14, 2017
Yates and Gard originally wanted to send their son to the U.S. to undergo Hirano’s trial therapy, but Great Ormond Street Hospital and the courts denied their request, saying the boy should be allowed to “die with dignity.”
Fearing public pressure, Francis initially barred journalists from naming Hirano in reports —despite journalists arguing it was for the public interest. However, in this morning’s hearing, the judge allowed his name to be released in anticipation of his arrival.
Dr Michio Hirano is US doctor who will fly to London on Monday to examine Charlie Gard. Permission given by judge. pic.twitter.com/Mw360t5304
— Blanche V. Mercaldi (@tammytabby) July 14, 2017
While the judge is granting Hirano access to see the baby, he holds firm that only “dramatic new evidence” would change his mind.
Hirano is expected to leave the U.K. on Tuesday after meeting with doctors and handing a report over to the courts. The transcript of the meeting will be released in a full hearing which is expected to take place on July 24 and 25.