Judge: Charlie Gard to move to hospice, life support turned off

By Allen Cone  |  July 27, 2017 at 10:38 AM
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July 27 (UPI) -- A British judge on Thursday ordered stricken baby Charlie Gard moved to a hospice where he will die shortly after life support is shut off.

High Court Judge Nicholas Francis had given the parents of the 11-month-old child until noon in London to come up with a plan with the hospital currently treating him to put Charlie in hospice care. The deadline had passed with no decision announced and the judge made the decision to send him to hospice care where he will "inevitably" die soon after a ventilator is turned off.

The parents' lawyer, Grant Armstrong, said they wanted to spend a few days with him in a hospice or pediatric intensive care and then remove life support. He said nurses from Great Ormond Street Hospital volunteered to care for him.

The hospital said it was not in the child's interests to spend a long period in a hospice.

In Britain, courts make right-to-life decisions, not patients or families.

Francis didn't say when Charlie will be moved and barred reporters from identifying the hospice and staff treating Charlie.

The parents originally wanted to let him die at home but the judge said he was concerned about the practicality of a patient with complex care needs.

On Monday, the parents ended a months-long legal battle to take him to the United States for experimental therapy with an American neurologist. The child's parents raised nearly $2 million in the failed bid to take him to the United States for treatment.

"The window of opportunity no longer exists," Armstrong told the UK High Court in London on Monday. "For Charlie, it is too late ... treatment cannot offer a chance of success."

The baby's rare genetic condition, which was diagnosed when he was 3 months old, is an inherited mitochondrial disease generally referred to as MDDS, or mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. Charlie is unable to move his arms or legs or breathe unaided.

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