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British baby on life support draws in pope, Trump

This is an undated handout photo of Chris Gard and Connie Yates with their son, Charlie Gard, provided by the family, at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. The president of the United States has offered to help. The pope is willing to have the Vatican hospital take the baby in. Some 1.3 million pounds ($1.68 million) has been raised to help him leave Britain for treatment. But as of July 4, 2017, little had changed for Charlie, a terminally ill British infant suffering from a rare genetic disease that has left him severely brain-damaged. (Family of Charlie Gard via AP)

LONDON (AP) A terminally ill British child has attracted the attention of both the president of the United States and the pope. More than 1.3 million pounds ($1.68 million) has been raised to help 11-month-old Charlie Gard travel to America for treatment.

But little has changed for baby Charlie, who suffers from a rare genetic disease that has left him brain-damaged and unable to breathe unaided. The life support he is receiving at a London hospital will soon be turned off over the objections of his parents, who want to take him to the United States for experimental therapy they believe could prolong his life.

A succession of judges has backed specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital who say the treatment won’t help Charlie and may cause him to suffer. Britain’s Supreme Court ruled it’s in the boy’s best interests to be allowed to die with dignity. The European Court of Human Rights last week rejected an appeal from Charlie’s parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, exhausting their legal options.

They have been spending time with Charlie before he is taken off life support.

By wading into the case in recent days, President Trump and Pope Francis have given Gard and Yates new hope and shined an international spotlight on an ethical debate that pits the rights of parents to decide what’s best for their children against the authorities with responsibility for ensuring that people who can’t speak for themselves receive the most appropriate care.

“The world is watching,” reads the headline across the top of charliesfight.org, the website dedicated to Charlie’s cause. “Two of the most powerful men in the world want to give Charlie Gard his chance.”

Great Ormond Street Hospital said Tuesday (July 4) there were no new updates in Charlie’s care.

Trump tweeted Monday that he would be “delighted” to help Charlie, who is suffering from mitochondrial depletion syndrome, which causes progressive muscle weakness. The president’s comment came after Pope Francis issued a statement saying the parents’ rights to treat their son “until the end” should be respected.

The Vatican children’s hospital studied whether it was possible for Great Ormond Street to transfer Charlie to Rome. But Bambino Gesu hospital President Mariella Enoc said she was informed that the board of the London hospital said Charlie cannot be moved for legal reasons.

However, the matter was still being examined Tuesday.

“I was contacted by the mother, who is a very determined and decisive person and doesn’t want to be stopped by anything,” Enoc told reporters.

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin has said the Holy See will do everything it can to overcome legal obstacles to bringing Charlie to Bambino Gesu for treatment.

“Overcome these problems? If we can do it, we will do it,” Parolin said.

The fight over keeping Charlie alive is not about money. Charlie’s parents have used a crowdfunding website to raise the money needed to pay for his treatment in the U.S. Instead, it revolves around an ethical debate about what’s best for the child.

Under British law, it is normal for courts to intervene when parents and doctors disagree on the treatment of a child — such as cases where a parent’s religious beliefs prohibit blood transfusions.

The rights of the child take primacy, rather than the rights of parents to make the call. It is a principle that applies even in cases where parents have an alternative point of view, according to Britain’s Court of Appeal.

And Britain’s courts have been consistent in this case. Three courts agreed that the experimental treatment would be futile and may “well cause pain, suffering and distress to Charlie.” The parents then took their case to the European Court of Human Rights, which refused to intervene and endorsed the British judges’ decision.

“This was a decision about what is best for this child,” said Claire Fenton-Glynn, an academic at the University of Cambridge who studies children’s rights. “This is an incredibly difficult decision for the court, and it’s not one that the doctors or the court have taken lightly.”

“It’s this terrible, terrible situation,” she said. “It’s a horrible thing to have to decide.”

In the United States, such disputes are normally negotiated between parents and doctors, according to Arthur Caplan, head of the division of bioethics at New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City. A family’s ability to afford endless care usually poses a bigger obstacle than ethical disagreements.

Even the Vatican had difficulty with Charlie’s case, as was clear in the conflicting messages that at first came from the Holy See. The pope’s top bioethics official initially suggested that while the parents’ wishes should be respected, they must also be helped to accept the limits of medicine.

After an outcry from conservatives, Pope Francis issued a statement of his own, insisting on the need to respect the wishes of the parents to “accompany and treat” their son to the very end.

Caplan said Charlie’s situation is a reminder that medicine and technology can’t fix everything, even in wealthy countries with cutting-edge technology.

“It is a strong belief in the U.S. and U.K. that medicine has one more trick up its sleeve,” Caplan said. “It’s like an article of faith. But it’s almost never true at the end of life.”

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  • The Cambridge academic is correct, it is a horrible thing to have to decide. But there’s no reason here the courts should have placed themselves in that role. The parents were willing to move and provide the money for the boy to be treated elsewhere, they should be allowed to do so.

  • I have to thank the Great Ormond Street Hospital for helping to guarantee that single-payer healthcare will never become a reality in the US.

  • Really? Don’t think that the image of doctors denying parents the right to fight for their child’s life even when the parents have independently raised the necessary funds won’t be used. Remember the accusations of death panels? Here’s the poster child.

  • “Three courts agreed that…”

    ~Courts~ should not be determining whether or not a certain treatment is feasible or not.

    “Caplan said Charlie’s situation is a reminder that medicine and technology can’t fix everything, even in wealthy countries with cutting-edge technology.”

    How ~can~ it be a reminder of ~anything~ when you are actively ~prohibiting~ people from even ~trying~.

  • It’s not a healthcare issue as much as our American attitudes are not the same. It is our nature to actively pursue extended or experimental treatment, assuming we have the funds and the doctor/ hospital agree. Our courts usually intervene in cases where the parents refuse established medical treatment. It’s usually religiously-based.

  • Except this isn’t a case of parents refusing established medical treatment, because the doctors have already said that there is nothing they can do. But they are refusing to allow the parents to pursue “extended or experimental treatment,” anyway. They would rather simply allow the baby to die, and there’s nothing the parents can do about it. This is sickening, and this is government healthcare.

  • all too relevant. Private for-profit and religious hospitals give inadequate, not up-to-date ‘care’.’ People in the USA want Single Payer healthcare. The GOP thinks health care is only for the wealthy, a fringe benefit. Medical care is a Human Right. You’d think any religious person or any decent person would support this.

  • this is one more trumped up farce designed to stir up the religious nutters who think doctors can bring people back from the dead or halt a downward trajectory. A few years back Texas created a worldwide flap when it kept alive a young woman who was early in her pregnancy for month!! The woman had signed a death with dignity memorandum, never wanted this, was legally braindead and so was her fetus, having gone without oxygen for over an hour. The rightwing stir up these cruel farces as clickbait.

    Eventually, after the woman’s corpse was kept ‘alive’, meaning machines breathed for her and her heart and kidney were kept going, but medically she was said. Finally, the family was allowed to take the woman’s body and give her and the doomed fetus a decent burial. This was utter religious and political tyranny. The GOP’s ‘brave new world’ is a dystopia.

  • get real
    you think you know more than doctors?
    The ‘death panels’ are if Trumpcare passes. It’s an excuse to let people die.
    Did you know that the Trumpcare cuts would force women to pay to have their babies delivered. Yep, the white, male, uber-Christian lawmaker will never have have a pregnancy so they don’t want to pay for a delivery.
    Hardly pro-life and SO cynical people are disgusted.

  • If there’s a chance, and they’re willing to pay for it, I do not see why the state should interfere.

  • No more than the doctors? The doctors have already said that they can do nothing but turn off the life support. But those same doctors are refusing to allow the parents to seek further treatment elsewhere. In my book that makes them murderers, and the fact that the UK’s government healthcare gives them the power to do that is barbaric at best. But as I said, I do have to thank them for helping prevent anything similar getting set up in the US.

  • it’s clear you don’t know anything about this kind of situation. Parents and doctors make these types of difficult decisions every day. Hospitals have medical ethicists and ethics committees which are often called in to support the decision makers.

    Doctors swear an oath to ‘first, do no harm’. Sometimes parents are not ready to make the decision to discontinue treatment and refuse to listen when doctors say they are prolonging the child’s suffering. This can be for religious reasons which preclude good combination.

    Your language of “murderers’ may indicate you are a rabid pro-lifer but perhaps you are misguided. What is the best thing for the child at this point. Or has this become a flashpoint for politics, in which all sides get harmed. Should the parents be allowed to take the child to the Vatican hospital?? Is that not cruel if the doctors are right that the infant is dying? We saw the Terry Schiavo situation turn into an international farce with GOP senators flying down to FL for the publicity.

    The reason these cases get so inflammatory is that too many people ‘read’ themselves into the situation. And that’s impossible. Better that you use this moment to reflect on your own death and how you want it to go. Because some day you may be in an ICU with tubes breathing for you (which is painful, by the way, and one has to be heavily sedated). I’m a former hospice chaplain and I can tell you that there are worse things than death. I want to die a peaceful life, without huge medical intervention.

    Sometimes the kindest thing to do is accept the reality that someone is dying and maintain the dignity of that person’s life and dying. This kind of auto-da-fe serves no one but the religious and political cranks. Don’t get hooked.

  • see what I wrote above. The state may be protecting the child for the reason that they don’t want the child to endure prolonged, painful suffering. I can’t understand why people think they know better than the professional, who, I can tell you, have big hearts and cry over these cases where an infant is allowed to die.
    If you want to save lives at risk, support the Affordable Care Act here in the USA for our children in need. Before that, parents could not get care for their child and kids were taken off ventilators all the time.

  • Certainly I understand how FAMILY may have to make hard decisions about life support. But doctors not only making that decision instead of the FAMILY but preventing further treatments is the exact opposite of “do no harm.” They are in violation of the Oaths. Murderers.

  • You are mistaken, Republicans are the ones stumping for the death panels. The gist of the Senate healthcare bill is to kill off large swaths of our population for economic expedience.

  • The doctors are in the position to give informed opinions on the subject.

    Republican death panels are truly insidious. They are not cutting off treatment for medical reasons but to protect their bottom line.

    Here the doctors give no reasonable hope of survival here. Based on the medical condition.

    Conservatives should really shut their traps about “death panels” and “the horrors of single payer health coverage” unless they can cough up a decent alternative.

  • You can’t just put the baby in a plane to the US. He needs equipment and medical personnel to ensure he survived the flight. The UK doctors do not want to divert their own resources to do it. Especially when they can be used for patients who can be realistically saved.

    If the parents can arrange their own care and transportation privately, then they are free to do so.

  • What a load of BS. Who is going to provide the respirator and other machines for the flight to keep him alive? Who is going to ensure they are working? Who is providing a special flight for all of this? Not the parents. They don’t have the means. The doctors have no duty to expend efforts where saving a life is impossible or wildly unlikely with their resources.

  • Because clever people, people who study facts and experience the pain of understanding reality, are able to do what is best for the patient without the intense emotional burden that parents feel.

    How do you know that you can’t jump off a 1200ft high cliff onto rocks and survive unless you try it? How do you know that being hit squarely by a train doing 100mph is not sensible without putting the concept to the test?

    Just because the question is beyond your (and my) experience/competence doesn’t mean that it’s unknowable – it just means we don’t know. It doesn’t mean that others can’t know.

  • I regard your attempt to politicise a desperately sad situation as despicable.

    IMO Trump and the Pope have chosen to make public pronouncements which were totally unnecessary – they should, like you, be ashamed of making statements which expose their ignorance and their preparedness to stir the pot for petty and temporary personal aggrandisement.

  • You eat a cyanide-laced sandwich whilst jumping out of a plane at 10,000 feet without any protective gear because, until you try, you don’t know for sure that it will kill you and I’ll discuss this with you.

  • Family members can be out of touch with the medical reality. Why do you think you know best for this situation. Clearly you hate doctors who feel they have a moral obligation NOT TO TREAT an infant which is dying.
    Your rhetoric shows you are a rightwing troll.

  • Trumpcare means No care and they, and private insurers are the “death panels”. Remember how idiot Sarah Palin started these scare tactics? US conservatives spout endlessly on discussions like this and show their utter ignorance.

    DougH, if you want to save lives then support the ACA in THIS country and stop trying to litigate what another country does. The British medical care system is one of the best of the world. They pay far less per person on healthcare than the USA. When ultra-conservative British leader, Margaret Thatcher had the chance to do away with the British healthcare system, she refused. She said, it works, it’s cost effective, and it reflects British values.
    She had more sense than our Trump and GOP.

  • I have no problem with their decision not to treat the baby — that is their call, as medical practitioners. I have a HUGE problem with their decision to prevent the parents from taking the baby to someone else that would, even though the parents would be paying all the expenses. THAT is what makes them murderers. And THAT is the kind of power that I never want to see doctors have in the US, and that these doctors have made less likely.

  • If these are the kind of results we can expect from single-payer healthcare, it needs to be politicized.

  • that was directed at a larger audience than just you.

    Have you knowledge of how hospital ethics committees work? How doctors are trained to have these wrenching discussions with families, with gentleness and sensitivity? What is the right thing to do? What is the right thing to do for an infant who can’t speak? It’s not just up to the parents. They have the child in a hospital so they can get the best assistance and guidance from professionals.

    Also, moving a gravely ill, child of fragile status, can precipitate death.

  • The family raised £1.3 million from private donations for moving their baby to the
    US for treatment, and after the move further costs aren’t an issue for the hospital or even the UK. No, lack of resources is no excuse.

  • especially the old and those with chronic illnesses. Older people are supposed to “die and get out of the way” just so the GOP can balance it’s budget. The GOP needs to jettison it’s Ayn Rand ideology and become human beings. Paul Ryan, of course, being enamored of Rand, a half-baked novelist.

  • Watch out. Your ignorance is showing. Countries with single payer healthcare have highly ethical processes for helping people in situations like this. Trump is grandstanding and the pope is ‘holier than thou’. Trump needs to shut up and stop caring water for the Religious right at every turn.

    If the pope wanted to show his commitment to ethical living and a philosophy of ‘do no harm’, he should make sure that no priest or member of the Catholic hierarchy is sexually abusing children. Instead last week a close member of his inner circle from Australia was implicated.

  • Rand herself didn’t turn down government benefits to keep herself alive when the time came. Libertarianism is inherently ridiculous.

  • Right, “highly ethical processes” that allow doctors to let babies die instead of releasing them to their parents for further treatment elsewhere paid for by private funds. To me, that “highly ethical process” sounds like murder. I’m glad doctors in the US don’t have that kind of power to abuse.

  • Evidently it requires more money or support from the UK hospital. Support they are unwilling to give.

  • “Murderers”–it’s clear you don’t know the definition of murder, just as you don’t know any neonatal medicine or medical ethics. Go to your library. There are all sorts of case studies like this which student ethicists use to discuss so as to hone their ethics. You sound like a knee-jerk hater.

  • okay, you hire the plane and try to find medical staff which will fly the infant safety to Rome. Good luck. Many very ill people die when they are jostled and moved. No, that infant is in the right place.

  • Murder: The deliberate, unjustified taking of a human life. This is deliberate and unjustified, so it is murder.

  • Its common sense. If they had the resources, why couldn’t it be done by themselves.

  • Right, the right place for the baby is a hospital where he WILL die, versus traveling to other hospitals that won’t turn off the life support, during which transfer he MIGHT die. And the ones that should be making that decision are the parents, not the doctors.

  • I despise Rand’s ideas. She glorified selfishness. Libertarians, I don’t understand at all. Yes, be self-reliant but also be relational, and for heaven’s sake, take care of others.

  • Troll says wut?

    Don’t want to answer the question. If money wasn’t a problem, what prevented them from taking the child in their own care?

  • The parents tried, the hospital has refused to release their baby into their care. Apparently, the doctors are determined to see to it that Charlie dies in their hospital. And after the parents sued, both the UK and European Union courts sided with the hospital.

  • The baby can’t survive without being hooked up on machines, I am not seeing how they could release the child in a practical sense.

  • At that point, after the courts had ruled that Charlie should “be allowed to die with dignity” the parents had simply asked if they could take their baby home so Charlie could die there instead of in the hospital. That request was also refused.

    But with £1.3 million I imagine life support sufficient to shift Charlie from one hospital to another shouldn’t be that big of a problem.

  • “But with £1.3 million I imagine life support sufficient to shift Charlie from one hospital to another shouldn’t be that big of a problem.”

    We aren’t talking about another hospital in the same city. We are talking about one in a different country. Even then, the outcome was unlikely. In this sort of situation, I can see why the courts sided with the doctors. This is a child who only was capable of life on machines and a doctors care.

  • Except these doctors have already stated there is nothing more they can do, and that they intend to turn off the life support. So no, I cannot see why the UK and EU courts have denied the parents the right to fight for their child’s life, even when that fight will be financed privately and take place in the US. This is beyond disgusting, it’s murderous and as I said the only good thing to come out of it so far is that it makes it makes single-payer in the US much less likely. They’ve added a new battle cry to the list: “No Charlies Here!”

  • Contrary to the assertions below, the physicians at Ormond are not some uncaring beasts who are trying to kill off a child. Like health care workers anywhere, their lives are dedicated to saving life and doing what they can for people. But they also recognize the limits of medical technology and their obligation to do what is right for their patient. Also, no one doctor makes decisions alone – a lot of specialists and ethicists are involved in cases like this.

    Second, contrary to assertions below, the physicians in Britain are obligated to the law, which provides for making decisions that are in the best interest of the patient. They are bound by law and can’t violate it or they risk their job and licensure. British law gives primacy to the patient and doing what’s best for them, even above the wishes of the parents or spouses or any other interested party.

    Third, there is nothing worse than practicing medicine by abstentia Neither the Pope or the President know the baby’s medical condition or anything about his treatment and prognosis. They have no idea what’s best for this child. Their stances are political and religious, not medical. Unfortunately this child will be used for religious and political agendas, and not what is best for him. Sadly, it looks like he will become a political and religious “football” and his best interests will become irrelevant.

  • NO, no, no. The tragic reality is that Charlie is only alive because machines are stopping him dying. There is no treatment. He will die – either mercifully or after exposure to the likelihood of further extended suffering. People who are knowledgeable and trained to act in the best interests of Charlie have repeatedly listened to the evidence and come to that rational conclusion.

    If a medico-legal system were to act differently its moral basis would be brought into question. If a system requires that suffering be artificially and ultimately ineffectively prolonged for someone who has no ability to give informed consent then that system is deficient in morality, in care and in humanity. We have a system which is balanced, professional and science-led in the interests of the sufferer – being single-payer is a great strength and of massive benefit but, in this case, it is also irrelevant.

    If you don’t understand how and why the system works your opinions about it have to be worthless.

    Money and scientific ignorance cannot mend that which is so fundamentally damaged. The only hope is a miracle (the suspension of physical laws) and sadly, despite many unproven claims, it seems they never, ever occur.

  • I don’t doubt that the doctors are well educated doing what they think best, but that doesn’t change what they are doing — refusing to allow parents to seek further treatment for their child that they themselves cannot supply. I don’t care how educated they are, that is fundamentally immoral and a violation of their Hypocratic Oath to do no harm. The fact that the UK and EU grant doctors that kind of murderous power is barbaric.

  • You seem to be laboring under the impression that I think the doctors, hospitals and courts are acting evilly or something. I don’t, I’m sure they are making the decision they feel is best for the child. They just should not be in the position of making that decision in this case.

  • Why do I have the feeling that all of the grandstanding in this matter is just that– grandstanding?

    Yes, the case of Charlie is tragic. No, the state should not interfere in the decisions of the parents. Yes, the parents are doing whatever they are doing with private funds…

    For now. But what happens when those private funds run out, as they will, as the religious control-bots find yet another, shall we say, more viable source of click bait and fundraising? Who will pay for Charlie then? Will it be the government, or the prolifers and the religious control freaks? Somehow, I don’t think the latter, but then, I’m a cynic about motivations. 43 years since Roe, billions of dollars and millions of man-hours spent on the political process fighting birth control and abortion and sex education, but not on free birth control. Not on responsible sex education, and helping mothers to term and making adoption services cheap and affordable. You’d almost wonder what they are thinking!

    Not that money is the only issue, though it certainly is an issue. But since we’re talking about money, what about Bibi Rosmaida, appearing in another article on these very pages, who is quite capable of living without life support and without flying to America…

    If only she could get enough to eat?

    What about the hundreds of thousands or millions of kids who every day face death by starvation, or the 21,000 who die every single day of a highly preventable death? Is it a coincidence that the vast majority of those children are brown and live in far away places without access to much in the way of publicity, while Charlie is a white child in one of the most fortunate countries on the world? The $1.7 million that Charlie’s parents have raised from private funds could save an awful lot of those children, very few of whom require life support and millions for experimental treatments, but just three square meals a day.

    but the religious control bots and the pro-lifers seem to be occupied elsewhere.

    One would almost think that this isn’t about the sanctity of life at all, but is about what it is always about: power, money, and dominion.

  • Wrong – the doctors, in their professional capacities and charged with caring first for the child, are of the opinion that prolonging his life is against his (the child’s) interests. The parents disagree and the correct procedure is that the issue is decided by the courts.

    What you erroneously call murderous power is the exercise of compassion – for the suffering child – and is in the hands of the courts – not the doctors.

    You talk about the Hypocratic Oath – I assume you think you are referring to the Hippocratic Oath, a disputed set of words which were prepared when medicine was in its infancy and a child afflicted as is Charlie Gard would have been dead long ago.

    You seem to equate medicine with hypocrisy – I don’t think any further comment is needed.

  • do you agree that moving a child which is medically compromised is not in the child’s best interest?
    PS. the best medical decisions are when the parents and doctors communicate and cooperate, not go it alone out of some delusion that more can be done. Are they reality based, the parents, I mean. You and I don’t know so you are just speculating and acting like you are morally superior. You are not. It’s just being a busybody. It’s a game with lots of people on pages like this. Dismiss the doctors. NO. I’ve known fine and caring doctors. They don’t have an agenda for this child.

  • I get it, you believe that the experts, being experts, should have the final say regardless of the wishes of the parents. So let’s extend that further — since they are the experts, why shouldn’t they have the right of final decision for the parents’ health care as well? Create even more death panels such as this hospital has? For that matter, why don’t we phase out the democratic elements of our governments like Parliament and Congress and replace them with a Confucian-style meritocracy? After all, legislators vote on subjects on which they are as ignorant as the average voter all the time.

    No, while the government may step in for cases of abuse and when parents deny their children necessary procedures such as blood transfusions, end of life decisions like this belong to the parents, not the experts. Those experts should offer advice, give the parents the full access to their accumulated knowledge, but once that is done the final decision should never be theirs. The fact that under socialized medicine it naturally IS theirs, is one of the reasons why I will forever oppose socialized medicine.

    Yes, in my haste I misspelled “Hippocratic,” though as in this case and with the popularity of doctor-assisted suicide my misspelling seems apropos.

  • Please read my comments again before you make more unwarranted assumptions about what I think. I said already, that I’m sure the doctors think they are doing the right thing. I have no doubt they are fine and caring professionals. They just should not be the ultimate decisionmakers in a case like this.
    No, I do not agree that moving a medically compromised child is not in his best interests, when he is going to die otherwise. Keeping him where he is to die, because of a fear that moving him might cause him to die?

  • It appears that you either cannot understand written English or that you are incapable of comprehending it.

    A – “Create even more death panels such as this hospital has?”
    The hospital has not created a “death panel” it has sought permission, via a cadence of courts, to treat this unfortunate child appropriately. The decision was not – legally cannot -be made by anyone working for the health service – if you are unable to understand that simple fact your comments are based on ignorance and I consider them worthless

    B – ” legislators vote on subjects on which they are as ignorant as the average voter all the time.” I fail to see what this has to do with your irrational hatred of an effective (with exceptions) healthcare model. However – legislators have access to expert advice which the average voter does not – plus many UK legislators have professional backgrounds and are capable of specialist understanding which they can share with their colleagues.

    C – “No, while the government may step in for cases of abuse and when parents deny their children necessary procedures such as blood transfusions, end of life decisions like this belong to the parents, not the experts.” Wrong on multiple levels
    1 – our government does not step in in respect of blood transfusions etc. – this is again a matter for the courts.
    2 – What do you think the arguments about blood transfusions are if not “end of life” decisions.
    3 – ISTM that you regard children as property of their (legal/biological/adoptive/sperm donor?) parents. I do not regard children as property, but as individual humans who deserve to receive the best care possible irrespective of parental emotion. Maybe this is what it boils down to – is the child’s welfare more or less important than its parents feelings?

    D – “The fact that under socialized medicine it ( end of life decision) naturally IS theirs (the experts), is one of the reasons why I will forever oppose socialized medicine.” You’re letting political naivety obscure the issue and the use of this child as a pawn in your ignorant irrationality is IMO contemptible – particularly since your misunderstandings about how the system works have been corrected simply and often.

  • Sadly some posters will almost certainly simply ignore your accurate and measured comment just because it doesn’t fit with their biases.

  • A. The DOCTORS decided to “allow Charlie to die with dignity,” the DOCTORS refused to allow the parents to seek alternative treatment paid for with private funds, the DOCTORS even refused to allow the parents to take Charlie out of the hospital so he could die at home. That’s close enough to a death panel for me.

    And no, the hospital didn’t pass their suggestions on to the courts for a final decision, they made their decision to prevent Charlies parents from seeking further treatment elsewhere and the parents sued. Unless UK hospitals routinely pass every final life-and-death decision to the courts for their final say even if not sued? I seriously doubt it.

    B. Yes, legislators have access to expert advice, but so did Charlie’s parents. The difference between the two is the legislators have the right to act against that advice, and the courts have ruled the parents don’t. Apparently, you prefer the experts be in charge rather than the legislators/parents. So let me ask again, should we scrap our democratic institutions for a Confucian-style meritocracy?

    C. 1 – Courts in the UK and Europe aren’t part of the government? 2 – The difference is between rejecting common lifesaving techniques and deciding whether it is finally time to give up an apparently hopeless fight — that final decision should belong to family, not the government. 3 – You seem to believe that children are the property of the government, with parents only allowed an illusion of making any serious decisions about their children’s futures. Why bother with families at all? Just have all babies placed in creches at birth so the government can ensure that they are brought up properly.

    D. Your blindness to the horror on display in this example of government tyranny is deeply disturbing. But as I said, my thanks for one more potent battle cry in the fight against socialized medicine: “Remember Charlie Gard!”

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