A High Court judge has given doctors in the UK permission to withdraw the life support of a baby boy – against the wishes of his parents.
Connie Yates and Chris Gard, from London, want to take their eight-month-old son Charlie, who suffers from a rare genetic condition, to America for experimental treatment.
But his doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London said he has irreversible brain damage and asked the courts for permission to begin palliative care.
Mr Justice Francis ruled: “It is with the heaviest of hearts, but with complete conviction for Charlie’s best interests, that I find it is in Charlie’s best interests that I accede to these applications and rule that GOSH may lawfully withdraw all treatment save for palliative care to permit Charlie to die with dignity.”
Charlie, who was born on 4 August, has a disorder called mitochondrial depletion syndrome, and is unable to move, is fed through a tube and breathes through a machine.
The doctor behind the experimental nucleoside therapy in America accepted that it was “very unlikely” that Charlie’s condition would improve with the treatment.
He said she was still willing to carry out the treatment if the parents could afford it.
Justice Francis said: “Understandably, Charlie’s parents have grasped that possibility, they have done all that they could possibly have done, they have very publicly raised funds.
“What parents would not do the same?”
However, the Judge concluded that there is “unamitiy among doctors” that the treatment would not reverse the brain damage, and could cause Charlie pain.
Judge Francis added: “I dare say that medical science may benefit, objectively, from the experiment, but experimentation cannot be in Charlie’s best interests unless there is a prospect of benefit for him.”
Charlie’s parents had raised over one million euros to pay for his treatment, as part of a campaign called Charlie’s Fight
They have up to three weeks to decide if they want to appeal the decision.