Charlie Gard’s parents have until Thursday to convince judge

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Jul 11, 2017
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Chris Gard and Connie Yates claim new information could affect a ruling that they cannot take their terminally ill baby abroad for treatment

Andy Rain/EPA

The parents of the terminally ill baby Charlie Gard have been told they have until Thursday to provide new evidence to persuade a judge to let them take their child abroad for treatment.

At an emotionally charged hearing in the High Court, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, who are in their 30s and come from west London, shouted at the judge as he asked for evidence that 11-month-old Charlie can be helped by a therapy trial in America. “If it was your child, you would take a 10 per cent chance,” Connie Yates shouted at Mr Justice Francis. Earlier Chris Gard shouted at the barrister for Great Ormond Street Hospital, where Charlie is being cared for: “When are you going to start telling the truth?”

The parents want Charlie, who suffers from a rare genetic condition and has brain damage, to undergo a therapy trial in America. Both the Pope and President Trump have offered their support. However, specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London have said that the therapy proposed by a doctor in the US is experimental and would not help.

They say that their position is still that life-support treatment should stop, arguing that Charlie has suffered “catastrophic and irreversible brain damage”. The hearing was told yesterday that the baby, who cannot move, cry, see, hear or swallow and is on an artificial ventilator, is now on a low dose of morphine. However, the hospital agreed to go back before the High Court yesterday as they agreed it was right that what the couple claims is new evidence should be assessed.

Mr Justice Francis, who made the first ruling on Charlie’s treatment, which was later upheld by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, said that he would be the “first person to be delighted” to have his mind changed by new evidence.

However, he said he would base his judgment on clear principles of what was in the “best interests” of the child, as governed by the Children Act. He said he would hear new evidence but not “rake over old facts”.

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