A European court has just made the controversial ruling that the parents of a critically ill baby cannot privately pay for him to go to the United States for “experimental treatment.” Instead, the child is being forced to stay in a British hospital to “die with dignity.’
The parents of 10-month-old Charlie Gard are understandably distraught after the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) denied them their last chance to save their dying son. After losing an initial battle in the UK’s Supreme court, they appealed in France to fight the decision of British doctors at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, who argued the baby could not be saved in the U.S.
32-year-old Chris Gard and 31-year-old Connie Yates had already raised £1.3 million to take Charlie to the U.S. for “experimental” treatment they claim could save his life. Britain has a socialized healthcare system, and though they had private funds, the court would not let her go.
On Tuesday, the ECHR ruled that the British hospital was correct in their assertion that the treatment in the U.S. could not help Charlie. The court also dismissed the application by the parents as “inadmissible.”
The court acknowledged “sensitive moral and ethical issues” had been raised in the case and determined they respected the “domestic legal framework” of the UK.
“He deserves a chance and he deserves a life as much as anyone else,” Charlie’s mother said of the decision. “We understand that rare diseases don’t get enough funding for research but why should that be a reason for a child to die?! He’s here now and this could help our baby.”