Chris Gard and Connie Yates have ended their lengthy legal battle to let their terminally ill 11-month-old leave Britain receive treatment that could prolong his life.
“We’re about to do the hardest thing that we’ll ever have to do,” Charlie Gard’s parents said before spending their last moments with their son.
Chris Gard announced their decision Monday outside of a London court after they received the most recent MRI scans of their son’s muscles.
“We have decided that it is no longer in Charlie’s best interests to pursue treatment and we will let our son go and be with the angels,” the emotional father said.
Charlie has a rare mitochondrial condition that means he cannot survive without the support of a respirator, and his U.K. doctors said that experimental treatments would only increase his suffering.
His parents challenged the court’s ruling and said Charlie should be able to go to the U.S. and be treated by Columbia University’s Dr. Michio Hirano, who flew to Britain last week to assess the baby for his experimental “nucleoside” treatment.
The Vatican’s Bambino Gesu Hospital had also offered to treat the child, whose parents received the support of world figures including Pope Francis and President Trump.
Though British children have rights independent of their parents, many believed that Charlie’s mother and father should be able to do what they felt was best for their son.
Others including doctors at the London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, where he was treated, said that the boy should be able to die with dignity.
Chris Gard said Monday the only reason that treatment could not start now is that too much time had been wasted and his son was “left with his illness to deteriorate devastatingly to the point of no return.”
The shattered father said scans earlier this year showed his son was relatively normal, but recent tests showed some of the damage to Charlie’s muscles was irreversible.
He lamented that the boy would not be able to see his first birthday, on August 4.
Ending the case on Monday, a judge told the mother and father that “no parent could have done more for their child.”
With News Wire Services