Judges in Strasbourg have today extended the life of baby Charlie Gard by at least 6 days. Great Ormond Street Hospital asked for permission to withdraw his life support from midnight tonight, to allow the 10 month old to die, but European judges want more time to decide on the case. Parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard have fought to take Charlie to America for experimental treatment, but judges in Britain have ruled it would not be in his best interest and the court in Strasbourg is their last hope for a reprieve. Judges in the European Court of Human Rights have now asked that doctors should keep treating Charlie until midnight on Monday June 19 while they continue to consider case. Last night they shared a poignant pic of a family picnic on the roof of the world renowned London hospital organised as a surprise for them by nurses moved by the devoted parents’ plight.
Miss Yates 31 years old a carer, told ‘Charlie was awake the whole time. It was wonderful for him to feel the sun on his face and the wind in his hair. We put on some music and Chris and I lay down next to Charlie. For the first time in months we felt like a normal family.’ It was a rare break away from the tension of hospital wards and courtrooms for the young family. Charlie was born healthy, but was admitted to hospital when he was less than 2 months old and has since been diagnosed with a rare genetic condition which saps energy from his muscles and organs.
Doctors said to High Court and Court of Appeal in London he had been left severely brain damaged and had no prospect of recovery and that it would be ‘unethical’ to keep him alive as he could be suffering, but his parents tells he responds to them and is getting stronger and have pleaded to be allowed to take him to the US for experimental hospital treatment which has never been tried on a human before. Their plight prompted some 83,000 supporters and well wishers to donate more than £1,3 million to a fighting fund to pay for him to have the treatment in America, without asking the NHS to fund it. But the High Court and the Court of Appeal refused the couple permission to take him for the nucleoside treatment after doctors told it would probably be ‘futile’ and the Supreme Court refused to hear a full appeal. Speaking for first time since the Supreme Court decision last week, Miss Yates told she and Mr Gard 32 years old a postman, felt they had been ‘terribly let down’ by the British courts. She said ‘We feel terribly let down by the UK justice system. We are still shocked that the Supreme Court wouldn’t even hear our appeal. The doctor in America says he believes there is no reason why the therapy won’t work for Charlie. Any parent would battle on as we have. We can not give up knowing there is a treatment available which could save his life.’ She thanked the nurses at Great Ormond Street for picnic, arranged in the rooftop garden at the London so Charlie could remain on his life support equipment.
The mother of one said ‘The nurses who’ve cared for Charlie have been absolutely fantastic. We were so touched when they told us they’d arranged a surprise picnic for us. They would even bought food, drinks, sweets, muffins and nibbles. Then they left Chris and I alone with Charlie for over two hours. It was incredibly thoughtful and kind.’ Great Ormond Street said the court hearings it had explored all possible treatment options for Charlie, including the nucleoside therapy in the US, and considered they would be futile in his case. Its doctors told that he could not see or hear and was only breathing with the help of a ventilator and that he could be suffering pain while he was kept alive. It told it would offer every possible support to Charlie’s parents, but that its staff had a responsibility to put the best interests of the child first.