Baby Charlie Gard to be evaluated by USA doctor

Amos Gonzales
July 14, 2017

High Court Judge Nicholas Francis said Friday that he was "open-minded about the evidence" to come after the visit of Dr. Michio Hirano of Columbia University.

Chris Gard and Connie Yates are still fighting to take their son to the United States for experimental treatment.

Speaking on behalf of "the entire family and their supporters", spokesman Alasdair Seton-Marsden said their attention had been drawn to "certain threats" against the judiciary, barristers representing Great Ormond Street, and against doctors and nurses at the hospital.

The case has returned to the High Court following reports of new data from foreign healthcare experts who suggest nucleoside therapy might improve Charlie's condition.

After a series of hearings and appeals in several courts, the European Court of Human Rights decided on June 30 that the hospital could discontinue life support to Charlie and he could not be transferred.

He has a rare genetic condition called encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome (MDDS) for which there is no known cure. Charlie will die from his illness, his doctors have said.

Mr Justice Francis said he intends to give his ruling on 25 July, after GOSH medics and Dr Hirano have had a chance to meet and discuss Charlie's care.

Charlie's parents had said they were anxious publicity might put pressure on Dr Hirano.

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Hirano's name appeared in public only on Friday, as a court order had previously blocked its mention.

Hirano, who testified via video-link on Thursday, said it was worth trying treatment that has recently emerged.

Hirano's research focuses on mitochondrial diseases and genetic myopathies and he has treated others with conditions similar to that involving the 11-month-old.

The doctor estimated a 10 per cent chance of improvement in muscle strength and a "small but significant" improvement in brain function.

GOSH strongly believes Charlie should not be moved - stating that the proposed experimental nucleoside therapy, which is not created to be curative, would not improve Charlie's quality of life.

Great Ormond Street doctors have argued that Charlie's life support should be withdrawn.

Seton-Marsden says that the family abhors violence, and asked people not to protest outside the hospital.

"Where there's life, there's hope, and we will continue praying for Charlie and his parents", Pavone said.

Other reports by BadHub

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