Court Overrules Parents’ Wishes for Dying Baby

Court Overrules Parents’ Wishes for Dying Baby

A judge in the United Kingdom has ruled against parents who are seeking to maintain life support for their child. Charlie Gard, the child, is an eight month old suffering from a terminal condition. The condition, mitochondrial depletion syndrome, is “a rare disease which affects the genetic building blocks that give energy to cells.” [1] Charlie has sustained severe brain damage and is currently immobile. There is no existing treatment plan for his condition, but his parents were eager to enroll him in a treatment trial in the United States.

While the parents saw hope in the experiment, a variety of doctors and other medical experts argued that there was no chance of improving Charlie’s quality of life. [1] The court asserted that its ruling was “in the best interests of the child” but the parents still plan on appealing the decision. Chris Gard, the boy’s father, conceded that if the treatment in the United States was not successful, they would agree to withdraw life support. The ability to make that decision for themselves, however, is contingent upon a successful appeal.

The unidentified doctor directing the treatment trial believes “Charlie may be able to interact… to smile… to look at objects,” if the experiment yields positive results. [2] Charlie’s representative in court, Barrister Victoria Butler-Cole, considers the viability of such results to be extremely dubious. She argued that enrolling Charlie in the trial would do little more than “prolong the process of dying” [3]. The details of the appeal process are yet to be finalized.

References:

  1. “Charlie Gard case: Doctors can withdraw baby’s life support.” BBC News. April 11, 2017. Accessed April 22, 2017. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-39568388

  2. Forster, Katie. “Charlie Gard: Parents of baby with rare genetic condition plead with high court judge to ‘give him a chance’.” Independent. April 6, 2017. Accessed April 22, 2017. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/charlie-gard-genetic-disease-parents-high-court-give-him-a-chance-mitochondrial-depletion-syndrome-a7669566.html

  3. Hartley-Parkinson, Richard. “Charlie Gard’s parents told they must let doctors withdraw his life support.” Metro. April 11, 2017. Accessed April 22, 2017. http://metro.co.uk/2017/04/11/doctors-told-they-can-withdraw-life-support-treatment-from-baby-charlie-gard-6568265/#ixzz4f6n3fUYyhttp://metro.co.uk/2017/04/11/doctors-told-they-can-withdraw-life-support-treatment-from-baby-charlie-gard-6568265/

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