Baby Charlie Gard to die in hospice, judge rules

  • 28/07/2017
charlie gard
Charlie Gard will be moved to a hospice to spend his final hours. Photo credit: Supplied

Charlie Gard will be moved to a hospice to spend his final hours there before a ventilator that keeps him alive is turned off, a British judge has ruled.

Charlie, an 11-month-old boy, suffers from an extremely rare depletive genetic condition causing progressive brain damage and muscle weakness. A ventilation tube keeps him alive.

His parents had been in a long-running battle to be allowed to take him overseas for treatment, which was denied by the courts.

After a legal battle that sparked a debate over who has the moral authority to decide the fate of a sick child, a judge had said that without an agreement, Charlie would be sent to a hospice and his ventilation tube removed.

After reluctantly accepting there was no hope for Charlie, his parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, had sought to take their son home to die.

But Great Ormond Street Hospital, where Charlie is being treated, said that would not be possible due to the invasive ventilation equipment needed to keep Charlie alive. He cannot see, hear or swallow.

On Wednesday his parents found an intensive care doctor to oversee a plan that would allow Charlie to be ventilated in a hospice for several days so they could bid farewell to their son, whose birthday falls on August 4.

"We need some peaceful time with our baby boy," the parents said in a statement.

"We need a paediatric intensive care consultant to come forward to assist and facilitate with a hospice stay."

A lawyer for Charlie's court-appointed guardian had told the High Court no hospice could provide care for intensively ventilated children for a long time, so the parents' wish to spend several days with him could not be fulfilled.

It was to give them a final chance of making such an arrangement that the judge gave them until noon on Thursday (NZT).

If no agreement was reached, Charlie would be transferred to a hospice and his ventilation tube removed.

The judge ordered the name of the hospice and the exact timing of Charlie's last moments should not be disclosed to the public.