The parents of terminally ill baby Charlie Gard ended their legal battle to keep him alive, their lawyer told London’s High Court, and want to bring him home to die.
The 11-month-old son of Chris Gard and Connie Yates has brain damage and a rare genetic condition causing progressive muscle weakness. Treatments have not helped, and on Monday the parents abandoned attempts to persuade a judge to allow them to take the boy to the United States for experimental, last-chance therapy. Lawyer Grant Armstrong said the proposed therapy no longer can improve the boy’s condition.
The parents agreed on Monday to end attempts to find treatment, after months of legal obstacles. Although President Donald Trump and Pope Francis were among those who urged that treatments continue, the European Court of Human Rights demanded a six-day continuation of treatment in June, but otherwise did not intervene.
A hearing is scheduled in the Family Division of the High Court on Tuesday, in which the parents are expected to request that their son return to their London home to die. Lawyers said in a statement that the parents want to spend the “maximum amount of time they have left with Charlie.”
It is unlikely the boy will survive to Aug. 4, his first birthday, the parents said. They requested in April that their son be allowed to leave Great Ormond Street Hospital, which they blame for delays that prevented them from prolonging his life through experimental therapy in New York. Doctors at the hospital said the therapy would not help, and a judge ruled in April in favor of the hospital, adding that Charlie should be allowed to die with dignity.
The parents abandoned their legal battle Monday, saying the boy’s health had deteriorated to the “point of no return,” The Telegraph reported Tuesday.
Yates read a statement at the High Court during a hearing on Monday, reading in part, “We are now going to spend our last precious moments with our son Charlie, who unfortunately won’t make his first birthday in just under two weeks’ time. 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. Sweet dreams, baby. Sleep tight, our beautiful little boy.”