The tragic story of severely ill infant Charlie Gard that has captivated the world over the last few weeks reached a turning point on Monday when, according to their lawyer, Charlie’s parents gave up their fight to have their son released for experimental but potentially life-saving treatment in the United States after medical experts determined it was now too late to save him.
The Associated Press reported on Monday that the attorney for Chris Gard and Connie Yates, Charlie’s parents, says “they have withdrawn their legal bid to treat the infant.”
“For Charlie, it is too late … treatment cannot offer a chance of success,” attorney Grant Armstrong told the British High Court Monday. Experts, he said, have determined that the “window of opportunity no longer exists.”
As for Charlie’s heartbroken parents, he said, “Dark days lie ahead for these parents,” and they “want to spend time with Charlie.”
The decision comes after weeks of a heartrending struggle between the eleven-month-old’s parents and the British justice system. Though Charlie’s parents raised an incredible $1.6 million to have their son transported to the U.S. for an experimental treatment for his rare genetic condition, infantile-onset encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, the British authorities determined that Charlie should instead be allowed to “die with dignity,” refusing to let his parents remove him from the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London — even just to die at home with his family.
After announcing that they would remove the boy from life support at the end of the week, after massive public outcry, British authorities held off on terminating the boy’s life. In the meantime, hundreds of thousands have signed a petition demanding the hospital release Charlie to his parents and the couple has received support from several entities, including the Vatican, President Donald Trump, and the U.S. Congress, which granted the boy legal resident status just days ago.
Despite all of the support, the British have only delayed the action they announced they would take weeks ago. A few weeks ago, a British judge warned that the family would be breaking the law if they removed Charlie from the hospital and took him to another country without his express permission.
“It would be entirely wrong for him to be transferred without my being involved,” the judge said.
Now, according to their attorney, Charlie’s parents have given up. After months of suffering under his rare condition, young Charlie is believed to now be severely brain damaged, blind and deaf.