Charlie Gard's Parents Given Two Days to Prove Their Baby Should Be Allowed Treatment in the US
Connie Yates and Chris Gard, the parents of a critically ill 11-month-old British baby were given two days at a high court hearing on Monday to produce convincing evidence for why their son should be allowed potentially life-saving experimental treatment in the U.S.
According to The Guardian, Judge Nicholas Francis has said that only "drastic" new evidence will push him to overturn his decision from April, which granted Great Ormond Street Hospital in London permission to end Charlie Gard's life.
Gard suffers from a rare disease called mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome which causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage.
His parents have claimed that they have evidence of treatment in the U.S. that could save his life, though Francis has given them by 2 p.m. on Wednesday to produce the details, with another hearing scheduled for Thursday.
Grant Armstrong, speaking for Gard's parents, said at a hearing that a "conservative estimate" places a 10 percent chance on the experimental treatment in the U.S. working for the baby.
"Ten percent. You would if it was your son, wouldn't you?" Connie Yates reportedly asked the judge.
Francis responded: "I have to decide this case not on the basis of tweets, not on the basis of what might be said in the press, or to the press."
Great Ormond Street Hospital is arguing that Gard's condition is irreversible, and that further treatment could lead to further suffering.
The parents have gone all the way to the European court of human rights in their quest to continue treatment, but it was a letter from seven doctors urging the hospital to reconsider its decision that lead to a new hearing in the case.
Armstrong claimed that Francis' previous decision against the parents' request in April raises questions about his capability to hear the latest case fairly, though the judge insisted he very strongly wants Gard to live.
"I don't think there's anyone involved who wouldn't want to save Charlie ... I am at one with the 350,000 [who signed the petition supporting Charlie's parents]," Francis said.
Americans United for Life President Catherine Glenn Foster reacted to Monday's hearing by expressing hopes that Gard "still has a chance."
"International attention has been focused on this brave couple, Connie and Chris, fighting for the life of their son, and I will remain in London calling for the rights of parents to make decisions for their children's care, and for hospital officials to open their doors and let Charlie's parents seek groundbreaking new treatment for their son," Foster said in a statement.
"As a mother, I could not stand by as Charlie's parents so bravely fought to seek life-saving care for their son," Foster continued.
"Here we have an institution created to serve the most vulnerable in our society and hired to care for little Charlie, and yet is battling his parents to strip them all of their rights. No matter how diverse and pluralistic we are as a culture, there is one thing that unites us all: the family," she added, noting that families worldwide are supporting Gard's parents.
Notable world figures, such as U.S. President Donald Trump and Pope Francis have also spoken out on the case, calling on Gard to be allowed further treatment.