The London hospital that is treating baby Charlie Gard says it is applying to the U.K.’s High Court for a new hearing after learning of “fresh evidence” of potential treatments for Charlie.
“Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children has today applied to the High Court for a fresh hearing in the case of Charlie Gard in light of claims of new evidence relating to potential treatment for his condition,” says the hospital in a statement published in The Sun.
The hospital continues:
Two international hospitals and their researchers have communicated to us as late as the last 24 hours that they have fresh evidence about their proposed experimental treatment.
And we believe, in common with Charlie’s parents, it is right to explore this evidence.
Great Ormond Street Hospital is bound by the ruling of the High Court which expressly forbids us from transferring Charlie for nucleoside therapy anywhere.
This ruling has been upheld by the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights.
It has also been supported unequivocally by some of the world’s most distinguished clinicians and scientists.
The ruling also states that it is in Charlie’s best interests for artificial ventilation to be withdrawn, and for his clinicians to provide him with palliative care only.
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) July 7, 2017
The hospital states it will allow the High Court to review the “fresh evidence” and make its judgment, but continues to maintain that the various courts’ rulings that Charlie should be removed from life support rather than continue “futile” medical treatment “is not an issue about money or resources, but absolutely about what is right for Charlie.”
“Our view has not changed,” the hospital states. “We believe it is right to seek the High Court’s view in light of the claimed new evidence.”
“We respectfully acknowledge the offers of help from the White House, the Vatican and our colleagues in Italy, the United States and beyond,” Great Ormond adds. “We would like to reassure everyone that Great Ormond Hospital will continue to care for Charlie and his family with the utmost respect and dignity through this very difficult time.”
Two Republican members of Congress – Reps. Brad Wenstrup (OH) and Trent Franks (AZ) say they plan to introduce legislation next week that would grant lawful permanent resident status in the United States to Charlie and his parents in order to allow the child to receive experimental treatment in America.
Charlie is 11 months old and suffers from infantile-onset encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome – a very rare and terminal genetic disorder. Specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital said they had exhausted all treatment options and told Charlie’s parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, their son would be removed from life support last Friday. The London hospital declined assistance from the Vatican hospital citing decisions by the U.K. domestic courts and the European Court of Human Rights, both of which ruled that removal from life support was in Charlie’s “best interests.”
Charlie’s parents, however, raised some $1.7 million privately to take their son to the United States for experimental treatment. However, in the system defined by principles of socialized, government-run health care, the hospital and both the U.K. domestic courts and the European Court of Human Rights have ultimate control over Charlie’s healthcare decisions. Consequently, the parents’ pleas to remove Charlie from the hospital, and even their request to allow the baby to return home with them for his final hours, were all rejected.
Both Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump have offered assistance to Charlie and his parents.
The Vatican hospital has offered to accept Charlie and treat him there.
Vatican hospital Bambino Gesu president Mariella Enoc said, according to The Sun, “We will continue speaking to the family and our team here will carry on studying the case to see what can be done. The only thing I will say and repeat is that we are ready to welcome the family and help them, as the Pope requested.”
Similarly, New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Irving Medical Center said Thursday it would be willing to admit Charlie and evaluate him, “provided that arrangements are made to safely transfer him to our facility, legal hurdles are cleared, and we receive emergency approval from the FDA for an experimental treatment as appropriate.”
Alternately, the New York hospital said it could ship an experimental drug to London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, where Charlie is a patient, along with instructions for its administration, provided the FDA approves.
Charlie’s situation has spurred a world-wide call for the rights of Charlie’s parents to make the decision they believe is best for their son, and to allow them to remove Charlie from the London hospital so they may pursue experimental treatment in other countries. Charlie’s case has put the spotlight on the nature of government-run health care that places the wishes of the state over that of the individual, and the decisions of institutions such as hospitals, governments, and courts, over the rights of parents.
The Daily Mail reports that U.K. genetics expert Lord Winston has been critical of Pope Francis and Trump for their attempts to assist Charlie’s parents in removing their son from Great Ormond.
While Winston acknowledged on ITV’s Good Morning Britain the overwhelming sadness at the loss of a child, and that Charlie’s parents’ parental rights should be considered “sacrosanct,” he continued:
But having said that, these interferences from the Vatican and from Donald Trump seem to me to be extremely unhelpful and very cruel, actually, because this child has been dealt with at a hospital which has huge expertise in mitochondrial disease and is being offered a break in a hospital that has never published anything on this disease, as far as I’m aware.
Winston added the “risk of prolonging life in very, very difficult circumstances is probably most cruel for the parents.”
Charlie’s mother Connie Yates, who also appeared on Good Morning Britain Friday, revealed, however, that she has now heard from five doctors, including two in the U.K., who say Charlie can receive treatment for his condition, one that would give him a 10 percent chance of survival.
As The Sun reports, Yates and Charlie’s father have urged British Prime Minister Theresa May to give Charlie the chance to have the experimental treatment, but May has indicated the decision should be left to doctors.
Similarly, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson reportedly told his Italian counterpart Charlie’s case must “be led by medical opinion, supported by the courts.”
Yates said she and Charlie’s father, however, received hope from Trump’s message.
“It does give us hope, because there was no hope left anymore,” she said.
“Charlie was going to die on Friday… and then it was going to be on the Monday instead. But then I think the White House got involved over the weekend and that changed things.”