Charlie Gard: the fight is over

Charlie Gard in Great Ormond Street Hospital

Charlie Gard in Great Ormond Street Hospital

Grant Armstrong, speaking on behalf of the parents, stunned the central London courtroom (which was packed full with spectators) when he announced that due to Charlie's "extensive muscle atrophy", they had decided that the baby had lost any chance to have any kind of "meaningful life".

The parents of Charlie Gard, whose battle to get their critically ill baby experimental treatment stirred global sympathy and controversy, have ended their legal effort.

In a surprise move, the family's lawyers and mother Connie Yates returned to the High Court on Tuesday after abandoning legal action the previous day over treatment for the 11-month old, who is now on life support. Charlie Gard suffers from a mitochondrial DNA condition, which leaves him blind and unable to function without being hooked up to machines in a hospital.

Charlie can breathe only through a ventilator and has been at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children (GOSH) in London since October 11 previous year. So, what the hospital is saying, really, is that Professor Hirano never really cared about Charlie and he played on the emotions of the baby's parents for profit because he's callous and morally empty.

Mother Connie Yates said the decision was the "hardest thing we've ever had to do". "We will have to live with the 'what ifs" that will haunt us for the rest of our lives.

Outside court, Mr Gard said that Charlie "won't make his first birthday in just under two weeks' time". The decision came after new medical tests showed the 11-month-old, who has brain damage and can not breathe unaided, had irreversible muscular damage.

"To Charlie, we say mummy and daddy, we love you so much".

The statement from the Great Ormond Street Hospital said that they felt "surprise and disappointment" upon learning last week that Hirano hadn't even taken a look at Charlie's brain scans or his medical documents before getting his parents' hopes up.

Charlie Gard will not be maintained in life
The case caught the attention of US President Donald Trump and Pope Francis and the cause garnered widespread grassroots support. Francis didn't say when Charlie will be moved and barred reporters from identifying the hospice and staff treating Charlie .

That the hospital has been so ferociously criticised - the family's former spokesman said Charlie was "taken prisoner by the NHS and the state" - is one of the many unsatisfactory aspects of this case.

"Devastatingly, the information obtained since 13 July gives no cause for optimism".

Yesterday, Mr Justice Francis had been scheduled to analyse what his parents said was fresh evidence at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court. "Rather, it confirms that while [proposed therapy] NBT may well assist others in the future, it cannot and could not have assisted Charlie", they said.

The case gained worldwide attention after Charlie's parents received support from Pope Francis, U.S. President Donald Trump and some members of the U.S. Congress.

The judge hearing the case, Nicholas Francis, said no parents could have done more for their child.

The judge said Great Ormond Street bosses had indicated that there were practical difficulties.

British doctors have maintained throughout the case that Gard's brain damage is "severe and irreversible" and have said the baby "may be suffering".

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