£180,000 donated to appeal to send sick Charlie to US for treatement

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More than £180,000 has been donated after an appeal by a couple who want to take their sick baby son to a hospital in the US in the hope that pioneering treatment will save his life.

A High Court judge is to decide whether doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London can withdraw life-support treatment from seven-month-old Charlie Gard, who suffers from a rare genetic condition.

Doctors at Great Ormond Street say Charlie should move to a palliative care regime.

Charlie's parents disagree. Postman Chris Gard, 32, and Connie Yates, 31, want to be allowed to take Charlie to the US.

The couple, of Bedfont, west London, are trying to raise £1.2 million to pay for treatment in the States.

They have launched an internet appeal and a website shows that over £180,000 has been raised from more than 10,000 donations.

A judge examined preliminary issues in the case at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London on Friday.

Mr Justice Francis said issues would be fully analysed at a hearing in early April.

The judge said the case was tragic.

He heard that Charlie, who was born on August 4 2016, has a form of mitochondrial disease - a condition that causes progressive muscle weakness.

A barrister representing doctors at Great Ormond Street gave some detail of the boy's difficulties.

Katie Gollop QC said Charlie could not cry and was deaf.

She said doctors thought that withdrawal of life-support treatment would be in Charlie's best interests and told the judge: ''The hospital's position is that every day that passes is a day that is not in the child's best interests.''

Ms Gollop said Great Ormond Street specialists had considered the type of treatment Charlie's parents wanted him to have in America and decided against it.

Barrister Sophia Roper, who represents Charlie's parents, told the judge: ''His parents believe that he is in much better shape than the hospital does.''

Mr Justice Francis heard that a US hospital had agreed to accept Charlie as a patient if treatment could be paid for.