Iain Dale is Leading Britain's Conversation.
24 July 2017, 14:08
LBC's Senior Reporter Vincent McAviney recaps on Charlie Gard's story after his parents Chris Gard and Connie Yates withdrew their application to take him to the US for experimental treatment.
Terminally-ill Charlie Gard's parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard returned to the High Court today, where many anticipated the decision around the fate of their 11-month-old son.
Almost immediately after court proceedings began, his parents withdrew their application to take their son to the US for experimental treatment.
Their barrister said time ran out for Charlie and treatment now cannot offer a chance of success.
Before the hearing, LBC's Vincent McAviney summed up Charlie's story so far.
Charlie Gard: A summary
By Vincent McAviney
Charlie Gard was born to Connie Yates and Chris Gard on the 4th August 2016, seemingly a healthy baby boy.
But Connie quickly realised something was wrong. She told LBC: “I came into hospital when he was eight weeks old, we were supposed to get his injections done, but I decided not to because I thought ‘there’s something wrong’.
“Obviously we didn’t know what at that point, so yeah, we took him in and they made me stop breastfeeding him, and we noticed a rapid, rapid decline in him.
“In a week he was then on a ventilator.” Charlie's condition is rare - he's only the 16th person to ever be diagnosed with it.
Mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome causes progressive muscle weakness and irreversible brain damage, and doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) told the new parents there was nothing they could do.
Refusing to accept that her baby would die, Connie begins researching experts around the world.
She discovers an American doctor, Professor Michio Hirano, a pioneer in his field working on an experimental treatment for a condition similar to Charlie's.
He claimed he could help. The NHS aren't convinced, and refuse to fly Charlie to America.
Connie has said: “We’re not saying it’s a terrible hospital, they do amazing things in this hospital, we’ve seen miracles happen ourselves, but there are doctors who specifically deal with certain conditions, and Charlie’s is a very rare condition…there are only eight genes that we know of that cause Mitochondrial Depletion.
“And the specific doctors which specialise in them, that’s who we’re listening to.”
The relationship between Great Ormond Street and Charlie's parents starts to breakdown and their becomes so bitter it ends up at the High Court.
The Judge sides with the Hospital and rules Charlie's life support machine is to be turned off. His parents keep fighting.
They exhaust the legal system, losing in the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and the European Court of Human Rights.
Support comes in from around the world - President Trump and Pope Francis wade in.
Here Theresa May makes it clear she's not getting involved: “I’m confident that Great Ormond Street Hospital have and always will consider any offers or new information that has come forward with consideration of the wellbeing of a desperately ill child.”
Charlie's parents reached a dead end. They're told to spend a final week with their baby before life support is switched off.
But in the final hours, Great Ormond Street take the case back to court.
They want clarification on seemingly new evidence from the US doctor.
Amid death threats, protests and unimaginable anguish on both sides - this is a case that has divided doctors, parents, and politicians and sparked fierce debate on who has ultimate control over our children and their lives.
LBC's Vincent McAviney live-tweeted the proceedings from the court, which can be seen below:
Breaking: #CharlieGard's parents are withdrawing their application bringing proceedings to an end.— Vincent McAviney (@Vinny_LBC) July 24, 2017
Their barrister says time has run out for Charlie and treatment cannot now offer chance of success. @lbc— Vincent McAviney (@Vinny_LBC) July 24, 2017
#CharlieGard's parents have been handed tissues by the court clark, both very upset looking down to ground behind their barrister.— Vincent McAviney (@Vinny_LBC) July 24, 2017
Professor Hirano was willing to carry out his experimental treatment at the experts meeting last Tuesday at Great Ormond Street Hospital.— Vincent McAviney (@Vinny_LBC) July 24, 2017
The damage to Charlie's muscles is irreparable chances of improvement treatment promised cannot now be delivered "for Charlie it's too late"— Vincent McAviney (@Vinny_LBC) July 24, 2017
#CharlieGard's father Chris is quietly crying in court as their barrister explains why application to fly him to the US is being withdrawn— Vincent McAviney (@Vinny_LBC) July 24, 2017
Charlie's parents had mediation with GOSH this morning, these discussions will continue after this hearing to decide end of life care @lbc— Vincent McAviney (@Vinny_LBC) July 24, 2017
Once it was established there was no medical support that treatment would work they accepted legal counsel advice to withdraw application.— Vincent McAviney (@Vinny_LBC) July 24, 2017
Armstrong: Parents are calling for protests at GOSH to end and have always and continue to condemn threats and abuse towards hospital.— Vincent McAviney (@Vinny_LBC) July 24, 2017
The parents reiterate their intention to establish a foundation so that "his voice can continue to be heard"— Vincent McAviney (@Vinny_LBC) July 24, 2017