Charlie Gard’s parents say their ‘beautiful boy’ has died

Critically ill baby who became known around the world dies after being moved to hospice following long legal battle.

The parents of Charlie Gard have said their 11-month-old, critically ill son has died after being transferred to a hospice.

       

In a statement on Friday, Charlie’s mother, Connie Yates, said: “Our beautiful little boy has gone, we are so proud of you Charlie.”

      

Yates and Chris Gard, Charlie’s father, on Monday abandoned their five-month legal battle to have him taken from Great Ormond Street hospital (Gosh) in London to the US for experimental treatment, after acknowledging that his condition had deteriorated.

       

The couple then fought for what they described as their “last wish” for him to be allowed to die at home.


However, they were unable to find a 24/7 intensive care team to keep him alive and he was taken to an unspecified children’s hospice on Thursday, where he died the following day.

      

The boy’s parents had wanted to spend up to a week at the hospice with Charlie before he was taken off a ventilator, but the high court ruled that this would require a specialist team to stay with him round the clock in the hospice.


After they were unable to source such a team, the judge, Mr Justice Francis, said an alternative plan should be put in place involving a much shorter time spent at the hospice on life support.

      
Hundreds of people, who called themselves Charlie’s Army, supported the campaign for him to receive treatment in the US, raising £1.35m.

        
A spokeswoman for Gosh said on Thursday: “The risk of an unplanned and chaotic end to Charlie’s life is an unthinkable outcome for all concerned and would rob his parents of precious last moments with him.


“As the judge has now ruled, we will arrange for Charlie to be transferred to a specialist children’s hospice, whose remarkable and compassionate staff will support his family at this impossible time.”

      

Charlie, who was born on August 4 2016, had a form of mitochondrial disease, a condition that causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage.

       
Described as “perfectly healthy” when he was born, Charlie was admitted to hospital at eight weeks and his condition progressively deteriorated. He required a ventilator to breathe and was unable to see, hear or swallow.

       
The couple said they wanted to take their son across the Atlantic for nucleoside bypass therapy, but specialists at Gosh said the treatment was experimental and would not help.


Charlie’s case became world famous earlier this year, with the pope and Donald Trump intervening on behalf of his parents.

Earlier this month, Pope Francis said he had been following the case closely and hoped that Charlie’s parents would be able to “accompany and treat their child until the end”. The Vatican children’s hospital also offered to take over his care from Gosh.

        
Shortly afterwards, Trump tweeted: “If we can help little Charlie Gard, as per our friends in the UK and the pope, we would be delighted to do so.”

Judges at the European court of human rights refused to intervene in the case late last month, prompting the couple to say they had been denied their wish to be able to take their son home to die and felt let down following the lengthy legal battle.

        
Paying tribute to Charlie after the end of their legal challenge on Monday, Yates and Gard, both in their 30s and from Bedfont, west London, described him as an “absolute warrior”.

       
In a statement made on the steps of the high court in London, Gard said: “Mummy and Daddy love you so much, Charlie, we always have and we always will, and we are so sorry that we couldn’t save you.


“We had the chance, but we weren’t allowed to give you that chance. Sweet dreams baby. Sleep tight, our beautiful little boy.”

        
At the time, Charlie’s parents said they believed their son might have been saved if experimental therapy had been tried sooner.
    

Yates said time had been wasted and “had Charlie been given the treatment sooner, he would have had the potential to be a normal, healthy little boy”.

     

But doctors at Gosh did not agree, with lawyers representing the hospital saying the “clinical picture” six months ago had shown irreversible damage to Charlie’s brain.

    

Over the course of the legal dispute, a worldwide campaign mobilised in support of Charlie’s parents, which spilled over into death threats being made against Gosh doctors and staff.

Timeline of Charlie’s case

3 March 2017: Mr Justice Francis starts to analyse the case at a hearing in the family division of the High Court in London

11 April: He says doctors can stop providing life-support treatment

3 May: Charlie’s parents ask Court of Appeal judges to consider the case

23 May: Three Court of Appeal judges analyse the case

25 May: The Court of Appeal judges dismiss the couple’s appeal

8 June: Charlie’s parents lose their fight in the Supreme Court

20 June: Judges in the European Court of Human Rights start to analyse the case, after lawyers representing Charlie’s parents make written submissions

27 June: Judges in the European Court of Human Rights refuse to intervene

3 July: The Pope and US President Donald Trump offer to intervene

4 July: The Vatican’s children’s hospital in Rome offers to take in Charlie

7 July: Great Ormond Street Hospital applies for a fresh hearing at the High Court

10 July: Charlie’s parents return to the High Court and ask Mr Justice Francis to carry out a fresh analysis of the case. Mr Justice Francis says he will consider any new evidence.

17 July: Dr Michio Hirano, the US neurologist, travels to London to examine Charlie

21 July: Lawyer representing Great Ormond Street says Charlie’s new scan makes for “sad reading”

22 July: Great Ormond Street says doctors and nurses have been subjected to abuse and received threatening messages

24 July: Charlie’s parents say they will end their legal fight for his treatment and let him die

26 July: Deadline set for Charlie’s parents and Great Ormond Street Hospital to agree how and when he will die

27 July: Mr Justice Francis rules Charlie will be moved to a hospice and have his life support withdrawn “soon after” after an agreement to decide his end-of-life care was not reached

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