UPDATED JULY 19
BY DANIEL GAITAN | email@example.com
The tragic case of a dying London baby has ignited fierce debate over parental rights, medical ethics and the role of government.
Charlie Gard, an 11-month-old facing an incurable genetic condition, is being cared for in a London hospital. His parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, want to take him to the U.S. for experimental treatments they hope will prolong his life.
Charlie cannot move, see, hear or breathe on his own. He also suffers severe seizures and has irreversible brain damage.
Still, his parents have 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 opposes his release because hospital staff ruled withdrawing life support is the only ethical and humane option. The hospital has not released Charlie to his parents.
August 4, 2016: Charlie is born to Chris Gard, a postman, and Connie Yates, both from Bedfont.
September 2016: At 8-weeks-old, Charlie is taken to Great Ormond Street Hospital after his health begins to decline.
Charlie is diagnosed with a rare genetic condition — mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome —which causes muscle weakness and irreversible brain damage. Charlie is one of only the 16 people in the world to have been diagnosed with it.
January 2017: The family sets up a crowdfunding page after an American doctor pledges to offer Charlie experimental treatments.
April 3, 2017: A High Court judge considers whether Charlie’s life support should be withdrawn or if his parents should be allowed to take him to the U.S.
April 11, 2017: A High Court judge sides with doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Charlie’s parents vow to appeal the decision.
May 25, 2017: Judges at the Court of Appeal uphold the High Court’s ruling that Charlie’s life-support should end.
June 8, 2017: Supreme Court justices dismiss a challenge by Charlie’s parents. At this point, they have exhausted all of legal avenues in the U.K.
Still, Great Ormond Street Hospital must keep Charlie on life support for another 24 hours so the European Court of Human Rights can hear the case.
June 13, 2017: Judges at the European Convention on Human Rights rule that Charlie should be kept on life support until at least June 19, allowing the family’s lawyers time to submit detailed legal arguments.
After the ruling, the family tweets: “Father’s Day will be extra special this year as Chris will get to spend it with the apple of his eye Charlie!!”
June 19, 2017: Doctors are told by the Supreme Court to continue life support for Charlie for another three weeks to give the European Convention on Human Rights judges time to study the case.
June 27, 2017: The last legal avenue for Charlie’s parents closes as the European Convention on Human Rights rejects their plea to intervene in the case.
July 2, 2017: Pope Francis says Charlie’s parents should be allowed to “accompany and treat their child until the end.”
July 3, 2017: President Donald Trump offers his help to “little” Charlie, posting on Twitter that he would be “delighted to do so.”
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
July 7, 2017: Great Ormond Street Hospital applies to the High Court for a fresh hearing in the case because of new evidence relating to potential treatment.
The hospital also releases a statement “to reassure everyone that Great Ormond Street Hospital will continue to care for Charlie and his family with the utmost respect and dignity through this very difficult time.”
July 9, 2017: During a demonstration outside Great Ormond Street Hospital, Charlie’s parents deliver a petition with more than 350,000 signatures calling for his release.
July 13, 2017: Great Ormond Street Hospital releases a lengthy statement reaffirming its position.
“It has been and remains the unanimous view of all of those caring for Charlie at Great Ormond Street that withdrawal of ventilation and palliative care are all that the hospital can offer him consistent with his welfare. 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.”
July 14, 2017: Charlie’s parents tweet “Thank you to all of Charlie’s army for your unwavering support! Keep it going! #charliegard”
Thank you to all of Charlie's army for your unwavering support! Keep it going! #charliegard
— Charlie's fight (@Fight4Charlie) July 14, 2017
July 17, 2017: The American doctor who told a British court that experimental treatments could help Charlie arrives in London to examine him.
July 19, 2017: In an unexpected turn, a terminally ill baby confined to a London hospital could been granted permanent residence in the U.S. so he can travel to here to undergo experimental treatments.