The U.S. Congress has granted the critically ill British baby Charlie Gard permanent residency in the United States, so he may be flown to America for treatment.
Though there have been several independent bills to do such a thing, the residency actually passed as part of an amendment to the House Appropriations Committee Bill on Homeland Security. The British press originally misreported the move as granting Charlie Gard “citizenship”.
The move was instigated by Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), who fought to save her own baby after doctors told her “There’s nothing that can be done, your baby’s gonna die”.
Rep Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) tweeted on Wednesday:
We just passed amendment that grants permanent resident status to #CharlieGard and family so Charlie can get the medical treatment he needs.
— Jeff Fortenberry (@JeffFortenberry) July 18, 2017
Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS) tweeted a picture of the amendment moved by Ms. Beutler:
— Rep. Kevin Yoder (@RepKevinYoder) July 18, 2017
Charlie has previously received high-profile support from U.S. President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and Pope Francis, with Rome’s Bambino Gesu hospital, a Vatican-run children’s hospital, offering to receive and treat Charlie.
The development from Congress comes the day after the 11-month-old’s mother, Connie Yates, met two international experts at Great Ormond Street Hospital to discuss his condition.
The American neuroscientist Dr. Michio Hirano could not persuade the UK doctors that something could be done to prolong or save Charlie’s life and flew back to New York last night.
He and an expert from the Pope’s hospital in Rome spent five and a half hours discussing the matter in the London hospital.
Speaking last night about Charlie’s upcoming tests, Mrs. Yates said: “Our gorgeous baby boy is still stable. We are at his bedside and feel satisfied he is not suffering or in any pain. As Charlie’s loving parents, we are doing the right thing for our son in exploring all treatment options.”
The baby’s parents – Chris Gard, 32, and Connie Yates, 31 – had battled in both the Britsh Supreme court and European Court of Human rights to overturn the hospital’s decision that the baby must die in the UK.
Britain has a socialised healthcare system, and despite the fact his parents raised millions in private funds for treatment, the courts could have acted as what some in U.S. politicians call a “death panel”, decided who is and who is not worth saving.
Earlier this year, Rep. Beutler told CNN of her story to save her daughter after she was diagnosed as having no kidneys at birth:
“You know, a lot of women at this point would be across the street scheduling an abortion,” she says the doctor told her.
But the Beutlers both said they just couldn’t do it.
“Being able to hear the heartbeat … we had this gut feeling of there has to be something — I mean, a doctor may say it, but she’s moving. That’s pretty convincing. We know she’s still alive,” said Dan Beutler.