LONDON — The parents of a critically ill infant in Britain have abandoned their months-long quest to take their child to the United States for medical treatment, their lawyer said Monday at the latest court hearing in London.
According to CBS News’ partner network BBC News, Grant Armstrong, the couple’s lawyer, told the court on Monday that the decision had been made to end the legal battle due to a U.S. expert in baby Charlie Gard’s condition changing his stance on the likely success of any treatment he could offer.
Britain’s High Court was to consider new evidence in the case of Charlie Gard on Monday. The 11-month-old has a rare genetic condition, and his parents had wanted him to receive an experimental treatment in the U.S.
Doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital had said the treatment wouldn’t help and could cause the child pain. They want to switch off his life support and allow him to die peacefully.
The case won international attention after Charlie’s parents received support from Pope Francis, U.S. President Donald Trump and some members of the U.S. Congress.
Judge Nicholas Francis scheduled the two-day hearing for this week to consider fresh evidence after Dr. Michio Hirano, an American neurology expert from Columbia Medical Center in New York, came to London to examine the child.
Last week, Great Ormond Street told the parents that a report on the latest scan of Charlie’s brain made for “sad reading.” The hospital’s lawyer, Katie Gollop, broke the news to the child’s parents at a pre-court hearing Friday in London.
Charlie’s father, Chris Gard, yelled “Evil!” at Gollop as Charlie’s mother, Connie Yates, began to cry. The parents said it was the first time they had been told about the latest results in the crucial test of brain function.
In court on Monday, Armstrong, the parents’ lawyer said Hirano had been willing to provide the experimental treatment until he looked at the results of the latest MRI scan of Charlie’s brain. With that offer withdrawn, Armstrong said time had effectively run out for Charlie.
“For Charlie, it is too late. The damage has been done,” Armstrong said on Monday, according to BBC News’ Joshua Rozenberg, who was in the High Court room. “It is no longer in Charlie’s best interests to pursue this course of treatment.”
The hospital believes Charlie has suffered irreversible brain damage — a view his parents have challenged.
Charlie suffers from mitochondrial depletion syndrome and cannot breathe unaided. Before the latest scan last week, his parents — and Hirano –believed the treatment, which has never been tested on a human with Charlie’s exact condition, could possibly restore his muscular and brain functions.
Previous courts, including the European Court of Human Rights, have sided with the hospital.
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