Published: Sat, July 29, 2017
Markets | By Erika Turner

Charlie Gard, 'beautiful little boy' at heart of dispute, dies

Charlie Gard, 'beautiful little boy' at heart of dispute, dies

They raised 1.3 million pounds (US$1.7 million) to take him overseas for treatment, but the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London had argued that Charlie was beyond help and that it was not in his best interests to be kept alive, triggering a protracted legal battle with the parents that led to interventions from U.S. President Donald Trump and from the pope.

He was born on 4 August 2016 with mitochondrial depletion syndrome, a rare genetic disease which left him brain damaged and unable to breathe or move his limbs unaided.

Great Ormond Street Hospital said Charlie's parents had tirelessly advocated for what they sincerely believed was right for their son and nobody could fault them for doing so. But Charlie's doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London objected, saying the treatment wouldn't help and might cause him to suffer.

"Our attractive little boy has gone, we are so proud of you Charlie", Ms Yates was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail. However, the hospital later agreed to consider new evidence involving Charlie's condition before taking him off the ventilator. "We are so proud of you Charlie".

His parents said they knew the chance of the experimental treatment working was slim, but they wanted to try anyway for Charlie's sake. His parents made the announcement on Friday.

A fierce debate on parental rights and medical care options soon followed, with figures as diverse as Pope Francis and President Donald Trump issuing statements of support for the Gard family. They took him to London's Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in October where he remained at least until Thursday.

A July 24 statement from the Anscombe Bioethics Centre, a bioethical institute of the Catholic Church in the United Kingdom and Ireland, said it was now time "to remember the preciousness of the child at the heart of this case, and to allow his parents to be with him until he passes from this life".

Following news of Charlie's death, US Vice President Mike Pence tweeted: "Saddened to hear of the passing of Charlie Gard. Karen & I offer our prayers & condolences to his loving parents during this hard time".

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Despite a petition calling on the Prime Minister to release the boy from hospital being signed by 110,000 people three judges at the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court's ruling on May 25.

In Britain, courts make right-to-life decisions, not patients or families. Earlier this year, Charlie's parents had launched an effort to provide their son with experimental treatment developed by a USA -based medical specialist, after Charlie's doctors concluded that further medical intervention would be "futile" and prepared to remove him from life support.

Charlie died Friday a week shy of his first birthday.

Rest in peace, Charlie.

On Thursday, Charlie was moved transferred to a hospice, where he was taken off life support.

After their five-month legal challenge against the hospital failed, Charlie's parents argued their son should be allowed to die at home.

They crowd-funded £1.3m, with more than 80,000 donations, and there were petitions and a Facebook site called Charlie's Army.

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