NRL News

UK prime minister May dodges intervention for Charlie Gard

by | Jul 5, 2017

New York’s Columbia University Hospital offering to treat baby

By Kathy Ostrowski, Policy & Research Director, Kansans for Life

Chris Gard and Connie Yates with Charlie (Photo: PA/PA Wire)

Chris Gard and Connie Yates with Charlie
(Photo: PA/PA Wire)

Charlie Gard’s desperate case for release from a London hospital before losing life-support was again made in the British parliament today, as seen in video provided by the Mirror. The response of the British Prime Minister was not encouraging.

MP Seema Malhotra addressed Prime Minister Theresa May on behalf of west London constituents Chris Gard and Connie Yates. The couple has sought since January to get their seriously declining baby boy to the United States to try an experimental oral medication.

Eleven-month-old Charlie has a rare and debilitating chromosomal condition in which his cells cannot replenish essential energy. A natural compound, orally administered, has shown some success as a treatment in the United States.

Court action on behalf of the parents failed to uphold their objections to the Great Ormond Street Hospital’s determination that Charlie be removed from a respirator and medically assisted nutrition, effective immediately. However, last Tuesday, the hospital vaguely promised “not to rush” the process. As of the 4th of July, a Facebook-posted photo of the Gard family indicated Charlie was still alive.

MP Malhotra asked the prime minister for intervention on behalf of Charlie. She said

“I understand the chances of improvement for Charlie are low but doctors would be able to say within three months whether Charlie is responding and whether that change is clinically beneficial. If there is any room for discretion within the court rulings for Great Ormond Street to allow Charlie to leave and to transfer his care to doctors at Columbia University, and he is sufficiently stable to receive treatment, would the Prime Minister do all she can to bring the appropriate people together to try and make this happen?”

Prime Minister Theresa May did not commit to intervening, citing the understandable “difficulty” of the situation for both parents and doctors. She then asserted she was

“confident that Great Ormond Street Hospital have and always will consider any offers or new information that has come forward with consideration of the well-being of a desperately-ill child.”

Prime Minister May’s response was the opposite of Pope Francis’ and President Trump’s who both tweeted support for the parents.


Yesterday Crux news reported that the hospital has rejected the offer of the Gesu Bambino children’s hospital in Rome to takeover Charlie’s care.

Bambino Gesù (in English, Baby Jesus) had put out a statement on Monday that the hospital’s president, Mariella Enoc, instructed their health director to ask GOSH if Charlie could be moved to them.

Enoc said that GOSH

“told us that, for legal reasons, the baby can’t be transferred to us. That’s one more sad note.” [However]…We are close to the parents in prayer and, if this is their desire, [still] willing to take their child, for the time he has left to live.”

On Monday Italian Cardinal Elio Sgreccia, former President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, analyzed little Charlie Gard’s case and offered “10 critical points” for consideration in the Italian daily La Stampa.

The Cardinal criticized the improper “dynamic” between the decisions of the medical team and the will of the parents as well as the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights, for “assuming a purely procedural position,” instead of examining “passive euthanasia on a new-born.”

Even if experimental treatment is withheld from Charlie, he is owed the provision of life support services.

“A person affected by an ailment considered, in the present state of medicine, as incurable,” the Cardinal wrote, “is paradoxically the subject that, more than any other, has the right to request and obtain continuous assistance and care, attention and devotion.”

Categories: Infants