Great Ormond Street Hospital in London has applied for a new court hearing to determine the fate of Charlie Gard, saying it has received “new evidence” that may affect the terminally ill infant’s case.
“Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children has today applied to the High Court for a fresh hearing in the case of Charlie Gard in light of claims of new evidence relating to potential treatment for his condition,” the hospital said in a statement Friday.
The European Court of Human Rights upheld a lower court decision last month saying it was in Charlie’s “best interests” to be allowed to “die with dignity” against the wishes of his parents.
But the hospital said it received “fresh evidence” from researchers at international hospitals in the last 24 hours concerning potential treatments for Charlie.
“Great Ormond Street Hospital is therefore giving the High Court the opportunity to objectively assess the claims of fresh evidence,” the hospital said. “It will be for the High Court to make its judgment on the facts.”
The 11-month-old suffers from mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, a rare genetic condition that causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage, making him unable to see or hear, or to breathe or move on his own.
The case has garnered international attention and has raised ethical questions about whether the government, doctors or the family should decide the fate of the terminally ill, and whether continued treatment is in the best interest of those with little hope of recovery.
Charlie’s parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, have continued to fight for the right of their son to live, despite exhausting all of their legal avenues for appeal.
The couple has raised more than £1.3 million ($1.7 million) in private donations for an experimental treatment in the United States.
The White House has been in conversations with the Gard family, and in a Twitter post this week President Trump offered to help Charlie’s parents in any way he can.
Pope Francis has also weighed in on the issue, saying the family’s desire “to accompany and care for their own child to the end” should be respected.
The pope’s hospital, Bambino Gesù Hospital in Rome, has offered to care for Charlie for however long he may live.
The pro-life movement in America has also mobilized to try to save Charlie.
At a press conference Thursday, Marjorie Dannenfeser, president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, said Charlie’s case shows what happens when medicine succumbs to “dangerous utilitarianism.”
“Despite the European Court of Human Rights’ rejection of Charlie’s parents’ appeal to overturn the decision of British courts, hospitals in the U.S. and a Vatican hospital are offering to join their fight for his life,” Ms. Dannenfelser said. “We insist that the British government intervene, respect the love and authority of his parents, and force the hospital to discharge little Charlie Gard.”
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