In a statement released today, Pope Francis is asking that the desire of the parents of 10 month-old Charlie Gard, who is dying of a rare disease, ans who wish to take him home to die, be permitted to care for their child as they wish until the natural end of his life.
Vatican Radio is reporting on the statement released by Greg Burke, Director of the Holy See Press Office, in which the pope expressed his closeness to the parents of little Charlie Gard, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, who want to transport their son to the United States to receive an experimental treatment but are being forbidden by the UK and EU courts.
Charlie is suffering from mitochondrial depletion syndrome, for which there is no cure. Although he was born healthy, his condition deteriorated rapidly and he is now unable to see, hear, feel, or breathe on his own. The treatment, which is available only in the U.S., has been used successfully before, but never on a patient as sick as Charlie.
For this reason, doctors at the Great Ormond Street Hospital, where Charlie is being cared for, have determined that the treatment will not work and that the child’s life support should be withdrawn.
International outrage has since caused the hospital to delay the withdrawal of the child’s life support to give the parents more time with him; however, they are refusing to allow Charlie to be taken home to die, as his parents wish.
These latest developments sparked demonstrations in the streets outside of Buckingham Palace on Sunday to protest the court’s decision and the hospital’s refusal to allow the child to be taken home to die.
In addition, CitizenGo has lauched a worldwide petition campaign against the hospital, demanding that Charlie’s parents be permitted to take him to the United States for treatment.
“Charlie’s doctors have temporarily delayed his death to allow his family more time to say goodbye,” the petition reads. “This allows us a few more days (at most!) to fight for his life.”
Although the Vatican issued a statement on Friday in which they called for “acting humanely in the service of the sick person until the time of natural death occurs,” it also called for acceptance of the limitations of medical science.
The Pope’s latest statement seems to be addressed more to the parents’ request to bring Charlie home for his last hours.
“The Holy Father follows with affection and emotion the case of little Charlie Gard and expresses his own closeness to his parents,” the new statement reads. “For them he prays, hoping that their desire to accompany and care for their own child to the end is not ignored.”
For those who are following the case, CitizenGo is urging you to sign the petition and call your local British embassy to ask the ambassador to join the fight for Charlie’s life. In the United States, please call Sr. Kim Darroch at 202-588-6500.
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