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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 September 2018

Parents of terminally-ill Charlie Gard storm out of court

Emotions ran high as the hearing that will determine the future of Charlie Gard continued

Charlie Gard's case has moved the British public (REUTERS/Peter Nicholls)
Charlie Gard's case has moved the British public (REUTERS/Peter Nicholls)

The parents of terminally-ill baby Charlie Gard stormed out of court on Thursday as the hearing continued as to whether they had the right to make medical decisions on behalf of the 11-month-old. The hearing will continue on Friday.

During another highly charged day at the High Court in London, Chris Gard and Connie Yates walked out after Judge Nicholas Francis repeated a quote he believed Charlie’s father had said relating to whether the child was in pain.

Mr Francis later apologised for the misunderstanding, but the fracas illustrated just how emotionally charged the case - which has attracted the attention of President Donald Trump and the Pope - has become.

In other developments, Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), the world-famous children’s hospital that has been looking after Charlie, who suffers from an extremely rare genetic condition, claimed that all possible treatments have been exhausted and that anything other than palliative care will cause the baby more pain.

In a submission to the High Court, the hospital's lawyer, Katie Gollop, was unapologetic in asking for life support systems to be turned off. Ms Gollop wrote that while the institution understands that Mr Gard and Ms Yates believe they have the right to decide the treatment for their son Charlie, the hospital holds different principles.

“A world where only parents speak and decide for children, and where children have no separate identity or rights and no court to hear and protect them is far from the world in which GOSH treats its child patients.”

But an American doctor, whose name and institution cannot be reported under a court order, claimed that a treatment had only recently emerged that could improve Charlie’s condition - data which was not available for judges to access during earlier legal hearings.

The doctor said he thought the therapy “worth trying”, estimating that there was a 10 percent chance of meaningful success. Great Ormond Street disagrees with this diagnosis.

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