Parents of critically ill baby dropping legal bid to treat him
LONDON — The parents of critically ill baby Charlie Gard are dropping their legal bid to send him to the United States for experimental treatment.
Lawyer Grant Armstrong said Chris Gard and Connie Yates are withdrawing their appeal to court orders saying Charlie’s treatment should end.
The couple cried at London’s High Court on Monday as their lawyer said time had run out for 11-month-old Charlier.
The couple had been fighting court rulings saying their son’s life support should be withdrawn.
The parents’ heartbreaking battled generated international attention and at times made emotions run high.
Hospital chairwoman Mary MacLeod said the London police had been contacted because of numerous threats received by the hospital’s employees.
“Staff have received abuse both in the street and online,” she said. “Thousands of abusive messages have been sent to doctors and nurses whose life’s work is to care for sick children. Many of these messages are menacing, including death threats.”
MacLeod said families visiting other ill children were also “harassed and discomforted” on the grounds of the renowned hospital in London.
Charlie’s parents had lost all previous court cases, including one before the European Court of Human Rights, which were designed to force the hospital to let them bring their son to the United States for an experimental treatment.
The loss in the European court, following an earlier defeat in Britain’s Supreme Court, seemed final.
But both Pope Francis and U.S. President Donald Trump expressed an interest in Charlie’s fate, and the hospital asked for a new court hearing because of what the family claimed was new medical evidence.
Charlie was examined by Dr. Michio Hirano, an American neurology expert from Columbia Medical Center in New York who has designed the proposed experimental treatment.
The doctor’s findings reportedly would have figured heavily in Monday’s court proceedings along with a recent brain scan which made for “sad reading” a lawyer for the hospital said.
It’s unclear if those results were given to the parents prompting the decision.