US Doctor Will Be Allowed to Examine Baby Charlie Gard

Posted July 16, 2017

He will fly into London and personally examine Charlie on June 17th and June 18th, after a request from High Court judge Mr Justice Francis, as there is some dispute between Professor Hirano and doctors at Great Ormond Street, who believe Charlie has suffered irreversible brain damage and should "die with dignity".

Dr Michio Hirano, a professor of neurology at the Columbia University Medical Center in NY, had told the high court via videolink on Thursday that he estimated the "chance of meaningful success [of the treatment] to be at least 10%".

The "nucleoside" therapy, which would try to stimulate the formation of DNA affected by Charlie's disease, has about a 10% chance of improving his condition, Hirano said earlier this week. "Ultimately, decision about further treatment should be made by Charlie's parents in consultation with the doctors they choose, and not by any court".

Speaking on behalf of "the entire family and their supporters", spokesman Alasdair Seton-Marsden said their attention had been drawn to "certain threats" against the judiciary, barristers representing Great Ormond Street, and against doctors and nurses at the hospital. The courts ordered that Gard received no further treatment and that his life support be shut off. Charlie Gard's parents are pursuing relief before Britain's High Court, the Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of London.

In recent weeks, Charlie's case has drawn global attention due to the various legal battles that his parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, have fought in an attempt to save their son's life. Chris Gard then slammed his water cup down and the couple left the courtroom.

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"I understand you walking out", he said.

British judges are tasked to intervene when families and doctors disagree on the care of people unable to speak for themselves.

"Unlike the U.S.A., English law is focused on the protection of children's rights", said Jonathan Montgomery, professor of health care law at University College London.

Americans United for Life and other groups have also take the parent's side, arguing the infant needs a "chance at life".

Charlie's parents, and the rest of the world, await it with bated breath.

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The judge in the Charlie Gard case has ordered little boy's head to be measured to determine if there is any brain development.

"Although Charlie's parents have parental responsibility, overriding control is by law vested in the court exercising its independent and objective judgment in the child's best interests", the hospital wrote. "That will be the only consideration of the judge at the hearing". The judge said he wanted to hear what Dr Hirano believes has changed since he gave his ruling in April.

The hospital, meanwhile, offered an unapologetic defense of its decision in a submission to the High Court.

The Charlie Gard case has become a touchstone for those on the religious right in both Britain and the USA, who are furious because they consider Charlie's right-to-life sacrosanct, and are also upset at the perceived interference of the state in parental choice.

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