High Court Judge Sets Another Hearing for Baby Charlie Gard
A High Court judge has adjourned Charlie Gard’s case for the day and ordered another hearing before deciding whether the baby should be released from Great Ormond Street Hospital to receive potentially life-saving treatment in the U.S.
On Monday, Mr. Justice Francis, who made the initial High Court ruling in April, said the case would be listed for a full day this Thursday. The judge explained he may not be able to make a final decision on Thursday, and does not rule out the possibility of the case running on into Friday.
According to live tweets from the BBC’s Joshua Rozenberg, Mr. Justice Francis delivered his ruling: “Everybody in this court wants to do the best for Charlie. My decision in April was upheld by the Court of Appeal and the UK Supreme Court. The European Court of Human Rights agreed.”
Referencing support for baby Charlie received by U.S. President Donald Trump, the judge said: “This is not a new case. [Great Ormond Street Hospital] are worried that damage is being done to Charlie. I have to decide this case…I must decide this case on evidence, not tweets.”
“This case will be listed for a full day this Thursday. I’ve been authorised to give this case absolute priority. I’d be delighted if I was able to change my mind. But I must apply the law.”
Justice Francis ordered Charlie’s parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, to file written evidence by Wednesday.
Charlie’s parents want to bring Charlie to the U.S., where a specialist is willing to offer him an experimental treatment for his rare condition called infantile onset encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, or MDDS. They have raised £1.3 million to pay for Charlie’s treatment and transportation themselves through an online appeal. Baby Charlie has his U.S. visa, and is “fit to fly“.
Doctors at the hospital in London, however, were determined to block the trip and ensure that Charlie’s life support should be withdrawn. Hospital administrators had kept him for months whilst fighting Charlie’s parents in the High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court, and even the European Court of Human Rights for permission to withdraw his life support without their consent.
The children’s hospital applied to the High Court for a new hearing on Friday after “claims of new evidence relating to potential treatment for his condition”.
On Sunday, Charlie’s parents delivered a more than 370,000 signature petition to Great Ormond Street Hospital imploring administrators to release the infant so he could be taken overseas for the treatment.