Judge analyses evidence in dispute over baby boy's life support treatment

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A High Court judge is preparing to analyse evidence about a baby boy at the centre of a life support treatment dispute.

Specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London think it is time to stop providing life support treatment to Charlie Gard, who is nearly eight months old.

Doctors say Charlie, who suffers from a rare genetic condition, should move to a palliative care regime.

Charlie's parents disagree.

Postman Chris Gard and Connie Yates, of Bedfont, west London, want to be allowed to take him to a hospital in America where they hope he can be treated.

Mr Justice Francis is scheduled to begin analysing evidence at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London on Monday before deciding which option is in Charlie's best interests.

Charlie's parents - both in their early 30s - launched an internet appeal on the GoFundMe website two months ago and said they needed to raise £1.2 million.

Website data shows that the target has been passed and more than 80,000 people have pledged money.

''The outpouring of support for Charlie and his family is absolutely incredible,'' said a GoFundMe spokesman.

''This is the second largest campaign we've seen in Britain and the social sharing and number of donors are absolutely huge."

He added: "It is very rare and hugely moving to see this many people come together so quickly and it's testament to the power of Charlie's story.''

Mr Justice Francis was given an overview of evidence at a preliminary hearing in early March.

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

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

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

She said doctors thought that a 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 represented 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 an American hospital had agreed to accept Charlie as a patient if treatment could be paid for.

He heard Charlie would have to fly in an air ambulance with nurses if he went to America.

Lawyers said a hospital in Spain had decided against accepting Charlie as a patient.