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Charlie Gard’s parents forced to give up legal battle

Parents end fight to take Charlie Gard to America after the 11-month-old was shown to have suffered irreversible muscular damage

24 July 2017, 6:20pm
Connie Yates and Chris Gard end legal battle
Connie Yates and Chris Gard end legal battle
Charlie Gard’s parents have ended their legal fight to take the critically ill 11-month-old to the US for treatment.

Connie Yates and Chris Gard said "it is no longer in Charlie's best interests" to receive experimental nucleoside therapy after he was shown to have suffered irreversible muscular damage.

The parents delivered an emotional statement as they informed the world of the heart wrenching decision. Experts informed them that the “window of opportunity no longer exists”.

The little boy has a rare genetic disease that affects the cells responsible for energy production and respiration, leaving him unable to move or breathe without a ventilator.

Great Ormond Street Hospital – where Charlie has been since October 2016 – received permission from the European Court of Human Rights in June to discontinue life support.

The decision concludes a bitter five-month legal fight from Yates and Gard, whose appeal was previously rejected by the European Court of Human Rights. Doctors at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital maintained that the experimental therapy had little chance of success and it was kinder for the baby's life support to be switched off.

The case has caused an international furore, with both Donald Trump and Pope Francis offering to help the sick baby. US lawmakers passed an amendment to grant Charlie permanent residency in America so he could fly there for treatment, while activists travelled to London to campaign on behalf of the parents.

In a statement, Yates and Gard said the last year had been "the best, the worst and ultimately life changing months of our lives" but "all our efforts have been for him".

"We are truly devastated to say that following the most recent MRI scan of Charlie‘s muscles," they said. "As Charlie‘s devoted and loving parents we have decided that it’s no longer in Charlie‘s best interests to pursue treatment and we will let our son go and be with the angels."