Appeal court rules Charlie Gard’s life support should be stopped

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May 26, 2017
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Chris Gard and Connie Yates, Charlie's parents, had wanted to take him to the US for experimental treatment

Gareth Fuller/PA

The parents of a child with brain damage and a rare genetic illness have lost their appeal against a decision barring them from seeking treatment in the US.

Yesterday Court of Appeal judges upheld a ruling that Charlie Gard, who is nine months old, would not benefit from a therapy trial offered in America. The parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, had argued that the treatment would not cause significant harm and was the last hope for Charlie.

However, lawyers for Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where the child is being cared for, told the court that the therapy proposed by a doctor in America was experimental and would not help. They also argued that Charlie’s life-support treatment should be withdrawn.

Last month Mr Justice Francis, in the High Court, concluded that life-support treatment should end and said Charlie should be allowed to die with dignity. The child’s parents, who live in west London, asked three Court of Appeal judges to overturn that decision. But Lord Justice McFarlane, Lady Justice King and Lord Justice Sales, who analysed evidence at a Court of Appeal hearing in London on Tuesday, upheld the ruling.

Lord Justice McFarlane praised the parents’ composure and dignity, saying “my heart goes out to them”. But he suggested that the couple's criticisms of Mr Justice Francis’s ruling were ill-founded.

The parents’ law firm, Harris da Silva, declined to comment on whether the pair would seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court. They were represented at the Court of Appeal by Richard Gordon, QC, of Brick Court Chambers.

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