Connie Yates and Chris Gard have been fighting to take their son Charlie to the United States to undergo experimental treatment for his rare genetic condition. Earlier this week, their legal battle came to an end. The European Court of Human Rights sided with British doctors who said it would be kinder to take the ten-month-old off life support.
Connie and Chris were told that their son’s life support will be turned off, but he is not allowed to leave the hospital. The couple released a heartbreaking video in response to the European Court verdict.
Greiving Couple Denied The Right To Take Their Son Home To Die
Connie said, “We’ve been talking about what palliative care meant. One option was to let Charlie go home to die. We chose to take Charlie home to die. That is our last wish. We promised our little boy every single day that we would take him home.”
The couple are accusing the Great Ormond Street hospital of trying to rush their son’s death and not giving them time to say goodbye. Chris said, “Our parental rights have been stripped away. We can’t even take our own son home to die. We’ve been denied that. Our final wish if it all went against us can we take our little boy home to die and we are not allowed.”
He added, “We want to give him a bath at home, put him in a cot which he has never slept in but we are now being denied that. We know what day our son is going to die but don’t get a say in how that will happen.”
The couple say they asked doctors for a final week with their son but their request was denied. “We begged them to give us the weekend,” Connie explained. “Friends and family wanted to come and see Charlie for the last time. But now there isn’t even time for that. Doctors said they would not rush to turn off his ventilator but we are being rushed.”
She added, “Not only are we not allowed to take our son to an expert hospital to save his life, we also can’t choose how or when our son dies.”
Charlie, born on August 4 of last year, is one of only 16 known cases of a mitochondrial depletion condition. The condition takes energy from Charlie’s organs and muscles, leaving his lungs weak and in need of a ventilator.
Charlie has been in the intensive care unit at Great Ormond Street hospital and doctors believe that nothing can save him. The High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court backed the doctors in deciding it would be ‘futile’ for Charlie to have further treatment due to his irreversible brain damage.
‘Charlie’s Army’ – a group who raised over 1 million for charlie to recieve care in the United States – tied ribbons and posters to trees outside of the Great Ormond Street hospital. Charlie’s parents spoke to the group in the video, saying, “Charlie will die tomorrow knowing that he was loved by thousands – thank you to everyone for all your support.”
Fortunately, doctors appear to be giving them some more time to say goodbye this weekend.