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Why the World Is Weighing in on Charlie Gard's Care

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Last Tuesday, the European Court of Human Rights denied Chris Gard and Connie Yates’ request to bring their son Charlie Gard, a 10-month-old with a terminal rare disease, to the U.S. for an experimental treatment. As news of the court’s decision made headlines, influential figures from around the world — including the Pope and President Donald Trump — have tweeted their thoughts about the care of Charlie, who is set to be removed from life support.

The Gard family has been petitioning court decisions since February, when the hospital treating Charlie asked the courts if it could switch the child to end-of-life care. The European Court of Human Rights was the family’s final appeal. Charlie has mitochondrial depletion syndrome, which doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children (GOSH) say is untreatable. Commenting on a previous court ruling in a statement late May, the hospital said, “It is in Charlie’s best interests to be allowed to die with dignity,” adding that the boy has an “exceptionally low quality of life.”

Charlie’s parents want to take him to the U.S. for nucleoside therapy treatment, an experimental therapy. “We just CAN’T let our baby die when there is something that might help him,” his parent’s wrote on their website dedicated to Charlie’s story. “We won’t give up on him because he has a rare disease. He deserves a chance and he deserves a life as much as anyone else.”

Within months, the family had raised more than $1 million to bring Charlie to the U.S. However, doctors in the U.K. remained adamant that medical treatment, even experimental, would not help Charlie.

“The doctor in the United States has not had the opportunity of examining Charlie but, based on the medical information available to him, has acknowledged that he thinks Charlie ‘is in the terminal stage of his illness,’” GOSH said in a statement.

Since the final court ruling, many people have shared their thoughts regarding Charlie’s care. On Sunday, a spokesperson for the Vatican told Vatican Radio that the Pope is praying “that their desire to accompany and care for their own child to the end is not ignored.”

Others including parents and members of the disability community have weighed in with their thoughts as well.

Originally published: July 3, 2017
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