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Court Reconsiders Charlie Gard Case Today

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NOTE: Important update at end of article.

A British High Court is reconsidering the case of Charlie Gard, the 11 month-old infant who is dying of a rare mitochondrial syndrome, after researchers at the Vatican’s Bambino Gesu hospital provided additional evidence that new therapies could help the child.

The Telegraph is reporting on the new hearing, which is taking place today, in which the fate of little Charlie Gard will be decided once again. Originally, the courts ruled in favor of the Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), where Charlie is being treated, whose physicians claim that the child cannot be helped and should have his life support terminated.

However, according to his parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, researchers at the Vatican’s Bambino Gesu hospital have provided additional information suggesting that treatments, such as nucleoside therapy, may be able to help Charlie to some degree.

Originally, GOSH physicians determined that the nucleoside therapy available in the United States, which Charlie’s parents desperately want to try, would not help their child because his condition is too severe.

This new information, however, seems to suggest otherwise, and the hospital agreed to return to court, albeit reluctantly.

“Two international hospitals and their researchers have communicated to us as late as the last 24 hours that they have fresh evidence about their proposed experimental treatment,” the hospital said in a statement issued on Friday. “We believe, in common with Charlie’s parents, it is right to explore this evidence. Great Ormond Street Hospital is giving the High Court the opportunity to objectively assess the claims of fresh evidence. It will be for the High Court to make its judgment on the facts. Our view has not changed. We believe it is right to seek the High Court’s view in light of the claimed new evidence.”

"He's our son, he's our flesh and blood. We feel that it should be our right as parents to decide to give him a chance at life,” Yates told reporters outside the court today. "There is nothing to lose, he deserves a chance."

While his parents say they “stressed but hopeful,” they have found the British and European Union courts to be less than sympathetic to their cause in the past.

However, today might be different due to the extensive international pressure being brought to bear on the case along with offers to treat the child for free in the United States and even a pledge of support from President Donald Trump.

In addition, the couple also provided the hospital with a petition signed from 350,000 people from around the world asking for Charlie’s parents to be able to pursue every reasonable chance for their son’s survival before terminating his life support.

As the National Right to Life Committee reports, there are several caveats to today’s proceedings that should be kept in mind.

The case is being tried before the same judge, Mr. Justice Francis, who previously concluded that “It is lawful, and in Charlie’s best interests not to undergo nucleoside therapy [the experimental therapy], provided always that the measures and treatments adopted are the most compatible with maintaining Charlie’s dignity.”

In addition, it is not yet known who will be presenting the “fresh evidence.”

“Will it only be GOSH whose own statements insist they have already tried everything and are super-dubious of nucleoside therapy? Will one of the outside experts be allowed to testify? The parents’ attorney? New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, one of the two US medical centers who have volunteered to treat Charlie?” asks the NRLC’s Dave Andrusko.

Charlie’s parents told the Telegraph that they reluctantly left their son’s bedside this weekend but wanted to thank supporters for taking up the fight for their son’s life.

"The whole world knows about us and about Charlie and our fight. There's a lot of pressure on it. It's hard work but we have hope so that keeps us strong. Charlie keeps us strong,” the said.

"Until you're in this situation, you don't understand the power of hope."

Let us keep this situation in our prayers in a special way today as the courts reconsider the fate of this innocent little boy.

UPDATE: 12:34 pm ET: According to The Guardian, during what is being described as a "tense" hearing, Judge Francis told Charlie's parents that he would be "delighted" to change his mind about allowing Charlie to receive treatment, but that it would take "drastic" new evidence for him to do so. He gave Charlie's parents until Thursday to produced their new evidence.

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