Yesterday Faithwire reported the tragic news that the legal battle concerning British baby Charlie Gard has come to a bitter end.
After finally receiving permission to review Charlie’s medical records and conduct an MRI scan last week, American neurologist Dr. Michio Hirano concluded that it was “too late” to try an experimental treatment that months ago could have saved the child’s life. Now, doctors at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) are accusing Dr. Hirano of offering false hope that Charlie would have improved with Nucleoside Bypass Therapy (NBT).
In a statement read to the British High Court, Katie Gollop QC, head of GOSH’s legal team, said the hospital hopes that those who, like Professor Hirano, “have provided the opinions that have so sustained Charlie’s parents, their hopes and thus this protracted litigation with its many consequences, will also find much upon which to reflect”.
The hospital said Professor Hirano had a financial interest in promoting a treatment that would have probably never worked.
On Monday afternoon, Chris Gard and Connie Yates refuted GOSH’s claims in a lengthy statement lamenting the outcome of what has been a months-long battle for their son’s life:
Charlie’s parents disagree with GOSH’s decision to blame Hirano. Instead, they believe that time was the most precious, and ultimately fatal, factor in their son’s case.
“There is one simple reason for Charlie’s muscles deteriorating to the extent they are in now – TIME. A whole lot of wasted time,” the joint statement reads. “Had Charlie been given the treatment sooner he would have had had the potential to be a normal, healthy little boy.”
The reason that treatment was not commenced in January orApril this year, was that Charlie was found to have ‘irreversible brain damage’ and treatment was considered as ‘futile’. Dr Hirano and Dr Bertini, together with other internationally renowned paediatric neurologists have now reviewed Charlie’s MRI’s and EEG’s which were performed in January and April respectively and they have confirmed that these MRI’s and EEG’s showed NO actual evidence of irreversible brain damage. Unfortunately Professor Hirano did not have access to the raw data and he based what he said in April on reports. We did not have access to these second opinions before the initial trial, hence why we are where we are today. Had we had the opportunity to have raw data of the MRIs and EEGs independently reviewed, we are convinced Charlie would be on treatment now and improving all the time.
Gard and Yates’ statement goes on to stress that this wasn’t simply a case of “parents know best,” and that they remained, until the end, open to a range of advice from medical experts:
All we wanted to do was take Charlie from one world renowned hospital to another world renowned hospital in the attempt to save his life and to be treated by the world leader in mitochondrial disease. We feel that we should have been trusted as parents to do so but we will always know in our hearts that we did the very best for Charlie and I hope that he is proud of us for fighting his corner.
We will have to live with the ‘what if’s’ which will haunt us for the rest of our lives but we’re thinking about what’s best for our son. We have always believed that Charlie deserved a chance at life and we knew that his brain was not as bad it was made out to be and that’s why we continued.
Even if the treatment offered by Dr. Hirano might not have worked for Charlie, the fact that GOSH doctors prevented Gard and Yates from exploring this months ago has and will continue to spell anguish for the parents. They were robbed of the ability to decide what was in their son’s best interests, and the suffering this has caused is brutally clear.
“We are struggling to find any comfort or peace with all this, but one thing that does give us the slightest bit of comfort, is that we truly believe that Charlie may have been too special for this cruel world,” the statement concludes.
Please continue to pray for the Gard family as they prepare to say goodbye to little Charlie.