Health Care

Trump offers help to a terminally ill British baby

Trump offers help to a terminally ill British baby

Mr. Trump and Pope Francis have put an global spotlight on the case of Charlie, whose parents have lost successive court battles to try to take their son to the United States for an experimental therapy they believe could prolong his life.

Ten-month-old Charlie Gard, who suffers from a rare genetic condition, with his parents, Ms Connie Yates and Mr Chris Gard.

By wading into the case in recent days, President Trump and Pope Francis have given Gard and Yates new hope and shined an global spotlight on an ethical debate that pits the rights of parents to decide what's best for their children against the authorities with responsibility for ensuring that people who can't speak for themselves receive the most appropriate care.

The hospital in London agreed to allow Charlie's life support to continue for a few more days, to allow the family more time with their son.

On Sunday, July 2, the Holy See Press Office director Greg Burke issued a statement in which Pope Francis called for respect for the will of Charlie Gard's parents. "Two of the most powerful men in the world want to give Charlie Gard his chance".

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The specialist, who can not be named for legal reasons, said therapy would provide a "small chance" of a meaningful improvement in Charlie's brain function.

But last Friday, Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia of the Pontifical Academy of Life, said: 'We should never act with the deliberate intention to end a human life, including the removal of nutrition and hydration'. The court also refused to allow them to take Charlie home to die. His doctors wish to take him off life support, but his parents disagree. It is a principle that applies even in cases where parents have an alternative point of view, according to Britain's Court of Appeal.

Successive legal attempts to allow his parents to take him to the USA for experimental treatment failed as judges in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in London ruled in favour of GOSH doctors, while the European Court of Human Rights declined to hear the couple's appeal. British courts have ruled that Charlie should be taken off life support as further treatment would prolong his suffering.

"This was a decision about what is best for this child", said Claire Fenton-Glynn, an academic at the University of Cambridge who studies children's rights.

"It's this bad, awful situation", she said.