The agonising case of Charlie Gard, the 11-month old baby dying from a rare form of mitochondrial disease, is edging towards a no less agonising conclusion.
Today, his parents agreed that he should be transferred from Great Ormond Street hospital in London (GOSH) to a hospice to spend there his final period of life.
The hospice was a compromise. The parents have been fighting the plan for their baby’s end of life care just as they had fought the decision that he should no longer be kept alive. They wanted to bring Charlie home to die. The hospital refused to agree because of the difficulties of providing the particular ventilation and other procedures for Charlie at home, and the potential for causing him yet more distress or even causing him to die before he got home.
The court that has been attempting to arbitrate this heartbreaking dispute has set a deadline of noon tomorrow for the parents to find a team that can support Charlie for the days the parents want to spend with him at the hospice. Otherwise he will be taken off his life support shortly after being transferred.
The parents deserve only the most profound sympathy. Their unremitting rage at the hospital has to be seen in the context of mind-altering grief. In such a state, however, it is sometimes not possible to make decisions that really are in the best interests of their child. In this case, moreover, it is impossible to avoid the conclusion that their stress has been hugely compounded by one of the most cruelly ill-conceived campaigns of recent times.
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