Health Care

Pope shows solidarity with Charlie Gard's parents

Pope shows solidarity with Charlie Gard's parents”

- Stepping into a tumultuous legal battle involving a United Kingdom couple's push for a say in the treatment and death of their terminally ill son, Pope Francis has offered his prayers for the child, and asked that the parents' wishes be respected.

Gard's parents were able to raise almost $2 million in order to take him to the United States for an experimental treatment.

"The Holy Father follows with affection and compassion the situation of Charlie Gard, and expresses his own closeness to his parents", Greg Burke said in a statement.

Since last week's decision by the European Court of Human Rights to allow the hospital to remove Charlie Gard from life support, his parents have come forward to claim that the Great Ormond Street Hospital is refusing to grant their final wish for their son: to bring him home to die.

The group was protesting Charlie Gard's impending removal from life support, which could happen at any time and which goes against the express wishes of the baby's parents.

Supporters of terminally-ill 10-month-old Charlie Gard, otherwise known as "Charlie's Army", gathered around Buckingham Palace in central London on Sunday.

Speaking on Friday, Yates said: "We are really grateful for all the support from the public at this extremely hard time".

Charlie suffers from a rare genetic condition and has brain damage. Specialists have said the proposed therapy wouldn't help Charlie. The boy's parents have released a video saying "we're not allowed to choose if our son lives and we're not allowed to choose when or where Charlie dies".

But judges in the High Court, Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court ruled against the parents and in favour of the doctors. They cited established human rights law, which dictates that the rights of a child should take precedence over the rights of a parent. That measure required doctors to continue providing life support treatment for Charlie. What's more, the experimental American treatment his parents raised roughly £1.3m million for would have "no prospects of success...would offer no benefit".

The hospital where the baby was treated, Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, wished to obtain permission to put an end to the artificial ventilation of the child and provide him with palliative care. After the final ruling, the hospital said there would be "no rush" to make any changes in Charlie's medical care.

Responding to the judgment, a spokesperson for Great Ormond Street hospital for children NHS foundation trust said: "Our thoughts are with Charlie's parents on receipt of this news that we know will be very distressing for them".

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