U.S. Specialist Will Travel to London to Assess Charlie Gard
A ruling on whether the parents of baby Charlie Gard can be taken to the United States for treatment is expected in ten days, after a newly revealed specialist from the United States has examined him.
The U.S. expert, who until now could not be named for legal reasons, has been revealed as Professor Michio Hirano, head of the Division of Neuromuscular Disorders at Columbia University Medical Center in New York.
Professor Hirano, who contacted the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital at the request of President Donald Trump’s team in the White House, believes that a pioneering experimental therapy which he has used to treat children with conditions similar to Charlie’s, stands “small but significant” of improving his brain function.
He will fly into London and personally examine Charlie on June 17th and June 18th, after a request from High Court judge Mr Justice Francis, as there is some dispute between Professor Hirano and doctors at Great Ormond Street, who believe Charlie has suffered irreversible brain damage and should “die with dignity”.
British doctors determination to end Charlie’s life, even though hospitals in both the U.S. and the Vatican have offered to take him and his parents have raised over £1.3 million in public donations to handle the necessary logistics themselves, has proved controversial around the world.
U.S. Congressman Steve King has said the “British courts should not be allowed to subject an innocent, eleven-month-old child to the equivalent of a death sentence when hope for a cure exists, and when his parents wish to pursue it at their own expense.
“The world is watching this story unfold, and the British legal system is being judged harshly.”
Great Ormond Street previously won permission from Justice Francis to withdraw Charlie’s life support without his parents’ consent, and defeated attempts by the Gards to overturn that decision in the Court of Appeal, the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, and the European Court of Human Rights, which refused to hear their appeal.
The hospital requested a fresh hearing at the High Court after doctors said there was new evidence that Professor Hirano’s therapy could be helpful, but does not appear to have changed its stance at all.