BY DANIEL GAITAN | firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s time for 11-month-old Charlie Gard to “be with the angels.”
The father of the terminally ill infant said he will not make his first birthday in less than two weeks, The Associated Press reports.
In a statement outside of London’s High Court on Monday, Chris Gard said too much time has elapsed in court hearings since he and his wife, Connie Yates, fought to have Charlie sent to the U.S. for experimental medical treatments.
“We will let our son go, and be with the angels,” Yates said.
The months-long, controversial case sparked a worldwide ethical debate about end of life issues and parental rights. It also captured the attention of Pope Francis and President Trump.
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
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
Charlie was born with RRM2B encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome — a rare genetic disorder with no cure. Charlie cannot move, see, hear or breathe on his own. He also suffers severe seizures and has irreversible brain damage.
Still, his parents raised more than $1.7 million to help shoulder the costs of transportation to the U.S. and treatments at an American medical center.
However, Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where Charlie has been receiving care since last fall, strongly opposed his release because hospital staff ruled withdrawing life support is the only ethical and humane option.
Great Ormond Street Hospital received permission from the European Court of Human Rights in June to discontinue life support.
Protesters who wanted Charlie to receive experimental treatments rallied outside the courthouse Monday, including some who came from as far as the U.S., The Washington Post reports. The hospital treating him has also received death threats.
“In recent weeks the community has been subjected to a shocking and disgraceful tide of hostility and disturbance,” Great Ormond Street Hospital said in a statement.
“Staff have received abuse both in the street and online. Thousands of abusive messages have been sent to doctors and nurses whose life’s work is to care for sick children.”