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Charlie Gard’s parents to find out where and when he will die

Charlie Gard at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. Photo courtesy of the family of Charlie Gard via Facebook

LONDON (USA Today) — A British court was expected to make a decision Thursday (July 27) that will affect when and where terminally ill infant Charlie Gard will die.

The judge in the case could rule that 11-month-old Charlie should be moved from a London hospital to a hospice and his life-support machines will be turned off shortly afterward unless his parents come up with alternative arrangements acceptable to the High Court.

Chris Gard and Connie Yates, Charlie’s parents, were seeking permission to let him die at home, but they gave up on that after objections from the judge who worried about the practical implications for a patient with complex care needs. Charlie has a degenerative genetic disorder that has left him unable to move. He needs a ventilator to breathe.

The couple has now conceded that Charlie should be moved to a hospice but hope to assemble a team of specialist doctors so they can spend more time with him before his life-support is switched off. 

The judge gave Gard and Yates until noon London time (7 a.m. Eastern) to agree with the hospital on a plan to care for Charlie at a hospice.

The couple on Monday ended a monthslong legal battle to take him to the United States for experimental therapy after the American neurologist who had offered to treat him said it was too late and wouldn’t work.

The case has received attention worldwide, with Pope Francis and President Trump offering assistance. The parents brought the legal action because they disagreed with Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, which is caring for him. In Britain, courts make right-to-life decisions, not patients or families, as is usually the case in the United States.

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