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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 June 2018

Charlie Gard dies in hospice the day after High Court agrees end-of-life plan

Mother of sick baby at the centre of a court battle pays tribute to her ‘beautiful little boy’

 
Charlie Gard, the sick baby at the centre of a court battle over his medical treatment, has died a day after court agreed an end-of-life plan
Charlie Gard, the sick baby at the centre of a court battle over his medical treatment, has died a day after court agreed an end-of-life plan

The terminally ill British baby at the centre of a high-profile court battle has died, his parents have confirmed.

Charlie Gard passed away in a hospice a day after a High Court judge in London agreed an end-of-life plan. His death comes just days before his first birthday.

In a statement released on Friday evening, his mother, Connie Yates, said: “Our beautiful little boy has gone. We are so proud of you, Charlie.”

The infant had a rare genetic disease which left him brain damaged and unable to breathe unaided. He was being cared for at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) in London.

Doctors at the hospital, which specialises in paediatric care, said that the youngster should be taken off life support, which was only prolonging his suffering.

In a case which caught the attention of the world, his parents had hoped to take their son to the U.S. where he would be given nucleoside therapy. Both US President Donald Trump and the Pope had offered to intervene to help Charlie receive the treatment.

However on Thursday, a High Court judge agreed an end-of-life plan to move Charlie to a hospice and have his life support withdrawn.

Judge Mr Justice Nicholas Francis said it was “inevitable” that he would die soon afterwards.

The judge had initially given Charlie’s parents a deadline of noon on Thursday to agree care plans with GOSH.

However, Connie Yates and Chris Gard were unable to settle the dispute over their son’s treatment. Having initially petitioned to take their child home, they then said he should receive life support treatment in a hospice for several days.

Senior staff at GOSH described their wishes as “not in any way viable” and that Charlie’s treatment should end shortly after arriving at the hospice.

The High Court decision indicates both parties failed to come to an agreement.

Earlier this week Charlie’s parents ended their legal fight to take him to the United States for experimental treatment.

Grant Armstrong, the lawyer representing Connie Yates and Chris Gard, told the judge Nicholas Francis that "time had run out" for the 11-month-old.

"For Charlie it is too late. The damage has been done," Mr Armstrong said.

Speaking outside the High Court, Mr Gard described his son as a "warrior" and said he did not believe he would make his first birthday in two weeks time.

Charlie's mother told the court that they had fought to give their baby a chance at life.

She added: "A whole lot of time has been wasted. We are sorry we could not save you."

Mr Gard and Ms Yates made the decision after US neurologist Dr Michio Hirano said he was no longer willing to offer their son experimental treatment, having examined Charlie's latest brain scans.

Judge Francis had scheduled a two-day hearing to consider fresh evidence by Dr Hirano who had come to London from Columbia Medical Center in New York to examine Charlie.

However, Armstrong said that due to delay the "window of opportunity" to treat the child had been lost.