Days after the parents of 11-month-old Charlie Gard, a terminally ill baby, ended their lengthy legal battle with the UK court system, a judge ruled that Charlie must be moved to hospice care, where he will soon be taken off life support. Charlie’s parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, previously asked the court to allow them extra time to spend with their son, who suffers from a rare genetic condition known as mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome (MDDS), which causes brain damage and loss of muscle function. On Thursday, the judge instead honored the request of the Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), where Charlie is being treated, to facilitate an immediate end to Charlie’s life.
A day earlier, the judge gave both the hospital and Charlie’s parents until noon local time on Thursday to reach an agreement on Charlie’s end-of-life treatment. The deadline came and went, with the hospital remaining firm that prolonging Charlie’s life ran contrary to his best interests. At issue, they said, was the fact that Charlie’s parents had not found a hospice or pediatric intensive care specialist to supervise the end of their son’s life. In a statement on Thursday, Yates said that two doctors and a team of intensive care nurses from the GOSH were willing to supervise, though none befit the hospital’s qualifications for suitable care.