By now you’ve surely heard about Charlie Gard, the 11-month-old British baby boy. This little fellow is at the center of a controversial court struggle over who should make his medical decisions: his doctors, or his parents?
Charlie was born healthy to first-time parents Chris Gard and Connie Yates, but was soon diagnosed with mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome (MDDS) – an inherited disease that causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage.
Charlie shares this condition with only 16 other people in the world. In addition, Charlie suffers from a severe epilepsy disorder.
Faced with these terrible diagnoses, Chris and Connie did what any parent with a sick child would do: they got to work to save their son’s life.
Chris and Connie researched alternative treatments and contacted doctors around the world. They found an American doctor who specializes in conditions like Charlie’s and was willing to administer an experimental oral medication of something called nucleosides. Mom and dad were even able to raise $1.5 million to cover the travel and medical costs.
Meanwhile, Charlie’s doctors disagreed with his parents that receiving nucleoside would be in Charlie’s best interests. They say they’re concerned about the possible pain Charlie may be in and point to his terminal diagnosis.
In short, the doctors are of the opinion that Charlie should “die with dignity” and be removed from the ventilators helping to keep him alive.
And so, Charlie’s case landed in court and has worked its way through the system. Time and time again, the courts have sided with doctors.
Charlie’s parents, however, are undeterred. Their motto has become, “If he’s still fighting, we’re still fighting.”
And so Charlie’s parents tirelessly advocate for their baby boy, fighting for the right to treat him with a drug that’s given other patients with similar mitochondrial conditions “dramatic clinical improvements.”
Just this Monday, Charlie’s mom asked the judge a pointed question during an emotional and heated debate.
When the couple’s lawyer told the court the U.S. doctor had suggested that, at a “conservative estimate,” the experimental treatment has a 10 percent chance of working for Charlie, Connie interrupted.
“Ten percent. You would if it was your son, wouldn’t you?” she asked the judge.
I have little doubt he would.
I have little doubt you would.
I know I would.
Earlier today it was reported that officials will allow Charlie to be examined next week by Dr. Michio Hirano, a neurologist at New York’s Columbia University Medical Center.
That a court needs to give permission for a sick child to be examined by a specialist pretty much sums up the outrageously chilling consequences of socialized medicine.
Please join me in praying for Charlie and his parents, as well as the hearts of those entrusted with his medical care.