Parents of terminally ill British baby back in court

13 July 2017 - 13:06 By AFP
Charlie Gard's parents have lost a series of appeals in British courts and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and had no further legal recourse.
Charlie Gard's parents have lost a series of appeals in British courts and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and had no further legal recourse.
Image: Google photos

The parents of a terminally ill British baby whose life support is to be withdrawn are to present new evidence in court Thursday, demanding they be allowed to travel to the United States for treatment.

London's Great Ormond Street Hospital, where 11-month-old Charlie Gard is being treated, asked a court to rule on how to proceed last week after US President Donald Trump and Pope Francis intervened.

Earlier this week, the boy's parents submitted a petition of over 350,000 signatures to the hospital, demanding that they be allowed to take him to the United States for treatment.

But the hospital has so far stood by its opinion that Gard's rare form of mitochondrial disease, which causes progressive muscle weakness in the heart and other key organs, was not treatable.

Doctors there believe Gard's brain damage is "severe and irreversible" and have said the baby may be suffering, in contradiction to the parents' views.

But doctors said it was "right to explore" any new evidence and that they were seeking the court's view.

The baby's father, Chris Gard, accused the hospital of lying at a preliminary hearing on Monday, shouting at the barrister representing the facility: "When are you going to start telling the truth?"

Gard's parents have lost a series of appeals in British courts and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg and had no further legal recourse.

But the case drew international attention last week after Pope Francis expressed his support for the baby's parents, saying he hoped doctors would allow them to "care for their child until the end".

Bambino Gesu, a Vatican-run hospital in Rome, has since offered to treat Gard and sent medical advice suggesting that treatment could be possible.

Trump also waded into the debate last week, tweeting that the United States "would be delighted" to help.

A US doctor has also proposed treatment for Gard.

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