Charlie Gard's parents await European judges' examination of case


A couple who want to take their terminally ill baby son to the United States for treatment hope that European judges will come to their aid after exhausting legal options in the UK.

Chris Gard and Connie Yates are waiting to see if judges at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France, will consider their case.

The couple want their 10-month-old son Charlie Gard, who suffers from a rare genetic condition and has brain damage, to undergo a therapy trial in America.

Specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where Charlie is being cared for, say therapy proposed by a doctor in America is experimental and will not help.

They say life support treatment should stop.

A High Court judge in April ruled against a trip to America and in favour of Great Ormond Street doctors.

Mr Justice Francis concluded that life support treatment should end and said Charlie should be allowed to die with dignity.

Three Court of Appeal judges upheld that ruling in May and three Supreme Court justices on Thursday dismissed the couple's latest challenge after a hearing in London.

But Supreme Court justices said doctors should continue treating Charlie until 5pm on Friday to give judges in Strasbourg time to look at arguments in the case.

Ms Yates screamed as Supreme Court justices announced their decision.

Mr Justice Francis had made a ruling on April 11 after a trial in the Family Division of the High Court in London.

He heard that Charlie, who was born on August 4 last year, had a form of mitochondrial disease, a condition which causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage.

Specialists in the US have offered a therapy called nucleoside.

Charlie's parents, who are in their 30s and come from Bedfont, west London, have appealed for money on a GoFundMe page to cover doctors' bills in America.

They reached a £1.2 million target before the High Court trial.

People are continuing to donate and the fund has now topped £1.3 million.

Mr Justice Francis said Great Ormond Street doctors had considered the experimental treatment, but decided it would not help Charlie.

He said the case had never been ''about money''.