Charlie Gard's parents find doctor to care for baby

  • 27/07/2017
Charlie Gard
Connie Yates and Chris Gard want to spend time with him before his ventilation tube is removed. Photo credit: Supplied

The parents of Charlie Gard have found a doctor willing to look after the terminally ill baby so they can spend time with him away from hospital during the last days of his life.

The 11-month-old baby, who suffers from a rare genetic condition causing progressive brain damage and muscle weakness, has been the subject of a bitter dispute between his parents and the London hospital where he is being treated.

The parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, have agreed to let Charlie die, but they wanted to take him home and spend several days with him before his ventilation tube is removed.

Great Ormond Street hospital said on Tuesday that would not be possible for practical reasons.

At a fresh hearing on Wednesday, the parents' lawyer Grant Armstrong told the London High Court they had found a doctor who was willing to look after the baby at home or in a hospice.

It was not clear from his remarks which of those was the option being pursued by the family.

The doctor was on his way to give evidence to the court, Mr Armstrong said.

The case of Charlie Gard has resonated broadly, triggering a heated debate about who should decide a child's fate and drawing comment from US President Donald Trump and Pope Francis.

Nicholas Francis, the High Court judge who has presided over an agonising series of hearings on the case, had given the parents until Wednesday to find a team of intensive-care specialists willing to oversee Charlie's care at home.

Failing that, the judge had been expected to make a ruling on where Charlie's life should end.

He had indicated on Tuesday that the best option may be a hospice - a possibility supported by the hospital and preferred by the parents to a hospital death.

Charlie requires invasive ventilation to breathe and cannot see, hear or swallow.

Ms Yates and Mr Gard had wanted to take him to the United States to undergo experimental treatment, against the advice of doctors who said it would not help and would only prolong the baby's suffering.

British courts, backed by the European Court of Human Rights, refused permission, saying the parents' plan was not in Charlie's best interests.