11-month-old Charlie Gard, the British baby receiving life support at Great Ormond Street Hospital is scheduled to be removed from life support on July 31, just four days shy of his first birthday.
When Charlie was two months old, he stopped gaining weight and began having difficulty breathing. He was put on a ventilator to keep air flowing through his tiny lungs.
Little Charlie was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition known as mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. Within weeks, he began having seizures and his brain function eroded, he had become deaf, and had no ability to breathe, move, or open his eyes. With Charlie’s heart and kidneys beginning to fail, it was not clear if he could experience pain.
In January, doctors seemed willing to attempt an experimental therapy with nucleosides. But the baby began having severe seizures and the physicians withdrew their support for the therapy. They also began discussing removing life support and introducing palliative care.
Parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard, were against taking their child off of life support. In February, they asked the high court to allow Charlie Gard to receive an experimental treatment in the U.S.
In April, the parent’s request was denied when the judge noted that the American doctor proposing the nucleoside treatment said that it was “very unlikely that he will improve” with the proposed experimental therapy. It was later revealed that the American doctor had financial interests in the treatment.
Information released in June, declared that Gard and Yates said that they wanted to take Charlie home to die or bring him to a hospice, but that the hospital had denied this. The hospital did not comment and cited patient confidentiality. Shortly thereafter, it was later announced that the baby’s life support would be withdrawn on June 30.
On June 30, the staff at the hospital agreed to give Gard and Yates more time with him.
Additional hearings promising new findings would ensue through July, but the heartbreaking court battle took a somber turn when Charlie’s parents announced that they were withdrawing their petitions.
An American doctor examined the child and confirmed to the parents that there was extensive damage all ready caused by the disease. He offered no hope for any additional therapies for Charlie Gard.
The distraught parents made a decision to spend time with their son without media attention and held off on the announcement to end their legal battle until July 24. Their last wish is that their son can be moved to a hospice facility for his final days.
A British High Court Judge is expected to hand down a ruling today. We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.