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Doctors Can Pull Life Support From Baby Against Parents' Wishes, UK Court Rules

His parents are devastated by a High Court Decision.

12/04/2017 11:51 AM AEST | Updated 13/04/2017 7:58 AM AEST
GoFundMe
Charlie Gard's parents were hoping to take him to America to try a new treatment.

Doctors can withdraw life support for an eight-month-old baby with a rare genetic disease against his parents' wishes, a UK High Court judge has ruled.

Baby Charlie Gard has a rare form of mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, a deadly disease where a decrease in mitochrondrial DNA inside the body's tissues means sufferers don't get energy to their muscles, kidneys and brain.

The eight-month-old is reportedly one of only 16 people worldwide diagnosed with the extremely rare form of the disease.

Charlie's parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, are from west London and were hoping to take him to America to try a trial treatment which has helped others with TK2 mitochondrial depletion syndrome, a similar type of the disease.

Around 82,000 people had raised over 1.2 million pounds (AU$2 million) towards his treatment costs through a GoFundMe page set up by mum Connie.

Lawyer for the family, Laura Hobey-Hamsher, said they were "devastated" by the High Court decision.

GoFundMe
Charlie in hospital with his parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates. The parents are fighting to take their terminally ill baby to America to try a treatment which isn't available in the UK.

Doctors applied to the courts for permission to begin palliative care for the eight-month-old, arguing that it is in the best interests of the child to end any further suffering.

Parents Connie and Chris are both carriers of a faulty gene, which they unknowingly passed onto Charlie. At eight weeks old, his health declining, he was admitted to hospital, where he has been for the past six months. He is now in the intensive care ward at Great Ormond Street Hospital and is reliant on a ventilator.

Charlie is now in the "terminal" stages of the illness, and has been left deaf, blind and brain damaged by the disease.

The judge who ruled against further treatment, Mr Justice Francis, told the court that he did so "with the heaviest of hearts" but with the conviction that it was the right decision.

"I find it is in Charlie's best interests that I accede to these applications and rule that Great Ormond Street may lawfully withdraw all treatment save for palliative care to permit Charlie to die with dignity," he said.

My son is the apple of my eye and I would do anything for him."

In making the ruling, he paid tribute to both the doctors who treated Charlie and his parents' "brave and dignified" campaign to save their son.

In court last week, Chris made a final plea for his son while clutching the boy's toy monkey.

"My son is the apple of my eye and I would do anything for him," he told the High Court.

"If there was no improvement, we would let him go. We would never keep him like this. He deserves that chance -- he has earned that chance."

Charlie will be kept on life support for three weeks, as his parents consider whether they will appeal the High Court's decision.

A spokesperson for GoFundMe told Sky News they would talk with Charlie's parents over what will happen with the money raised for Charlie's treatment.

GoFundMe
Charlie is in intensive care and relies on a ventilator to keep him alive.

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