The parents of Charlie Gard, the 11-month-old terminally ill British baby, have ended their legal fight to take him to the U.S. for experimental treatment.
Grant Armstrong, a lawyer for Charlie’s parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, said Dr. Michio Hirano, the U.S. neurologist who examined the baby, said it was too late to treat him with experimental nucleoside therapy, adding Charlie’s “time had run out.”
Addressing the court, Connie Yates said: “This is one of the hardest things we’ve ever had to say, do, to let our beautiful little boy go.” She said “a whole lot of time has been wasted,” leading to the diagnosis that it was too late to do anything for Charlie, who has been on life support since October 2016.
Justice Nicholas Francis paid tribute to Charlie’s parents, saying “no parent could have done more for their child.” Armstrong, the family’s lawyer, said the couple would set up a foundation with the money they had raised for Charlie’s overseas treatment so the 11-month-old’s voice “continues to be heard.”
Charlie, who was born in August 2016, was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome; he suffered from brain damage and couldn’t move his limbs. Doctors in the U.K. advised his parents to end life support, but Gard and Yates raised funds to transfer him to the U.S. for the experimental treatment. British medical experts—and three courts—said prolonging treatment would cause Charlie “significant harm.” The European Court of Human Rights ruled in June against the parents, all but ensuring Charlie would be taken off life support.