- The Washington Times
Wednesday, July 5, 2017

British doctors have reportedly refused to transfer a terminally ill infant to a Vatican hospital that is willing to care for him, citing a court ruling that said the child must be allowed to die against the wishes of his parents.

Mariella Enoc, president of Bambino Gesù Hospital, the pope’s pediatric hospital in Rome, told reporters on Tuesday that Charlie Gard’s transfer request had been denied for legal reasons.


“The hospital told us that, for legal reasons, the baby can’t be transferred to us,” Ms. Enoc said, Crux reported. “That’s one more sad note. We listened to what the mother asked us with great attention, and she’s determined to fight to the end. I don’t know if it will be possible to find a means of care.”

And in a phone call with his Italian counterpart Wednesday, U.K. Foreign Minister Boris Johnson said moving Charlie at this point is not possible.

“The Foreign Secretary said this was a deeply tragic and complex case for all involved,” a Foreign Office spokeswoman said in a statement, “and said it was right that decisions continued to be led by expert medical opinion, supported by the courts, in line with Charlie’s best interests.”

Charlie’s parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, lost their final legal appeal last month, when the European Court of Human Rights upheld a lower court ruling denying their request to transfer the 11-month-old to the United States for an experimental treatment.

The couple has raised more than £1.3 million ($1.7 million) through crowdfunding sites for the treatment.

But doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where the infant is being treated, have said it is in Charlie’s “best interests” to “die with dignity,” questioning the likelihood of recovery under the treatment and whether it will contribute to his suffering.

Charlie has a rare genetic condition called mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome that causes brain damage and progressive muscle weakness. He is unable to see or hear, or breathe or move on his own.

World leaders ranging from President Trump to Pope Francis have weighed in on Charlie’s case and have offered to help the Gard family in any way that they can.

In a statement Saturday, the Vatican said Pope Francis was praying for Charlie’s parents and hoped their desire “to accompany and care for their own child to the end” would be respected.

In an apparent reference to the Gard case, the pontiff tweeted Friday that to “defend human life, above all when it is wounded by illness, is a duty of love that God entrusts to all men.”

Following the pontiff’s comments, Bambino Gesù Hospital reached out to doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital on Monday to inquire about moving Charlie.

Despite the latest denial, Ms. Enoc said Charlie’s mother is still seeking treatment options for her son.

“She’s a very determined and very decisive woman, who doesn’t want to give in to anything,” Ms. Enoc said.

Charlie’s doctors initially said he would be pulled off of life support last Friday, but after a backlash agreed to let him live longer so that his family can spend time with him.


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