Charlie Gard: What You Need To Know As Parents Withdraw Application

24 July 2017, 14:08 | Updated: 24 July 2017, 15:16

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.

READ MORE: Parents end legal fight to treat Charlie Gard in the US

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 has a rare genetic condition affecting his mitochondria and doctors argued life support should be switched off because there was no chance of his condition improving Photo: PA
Charlie has a rare genetic condition affecting his mitochondria and doctors argued life support should be switched off because there was no chance of his condition improving Photo: PA. Picture: PA

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: