President Donald J. Trump has backed the fight to save the critically ill British baby Charlie Gard, saying he would be “delighted” to “help” the boy after a European court ruled his parents could not privately fund a final attempt to treat him.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has been slammed for acting like a “death panel” after denying Charlie’s parents the chance to take their son to the U.S. for “experimental treatment”.
The court argued that little Charlie was too ill, could not be saved, and must “die with dignity” in the UK.
His mother disagreed, insisting, “Charlie should get a chance to try these medications”, explaining: “He literally has nothing to lose but potentially a healthier, happier life to gain.”
The President waded in on the debate on Monday, tweeting: “If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so.”
Mr. Trump appears to be saying that “we” in the U.S. should be able to offer the child treatment. His interventions follow on from Pope Francis on Sunday who also backed the parent’s fight.
“The Holy Father follows with affection and commotion the situation of Charlie Gard, and expresses his own closeness to his parents,” a statement issued by Greg Burke, the papal spokesman, read.
“He prays for them, wishing that their desire to accompany and care for their own child to the end will be respected.”
After the ECHR’s ruling, the parents claimed that doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital, where Charlie has been treated, refused to allow them to take their son home to die.
The baby’s parents – Chris Gard, 32, and Connie Yates, 31 – had raised more than £1.3 million to take Charlie to the U.S. for partially untested, “experimental” treatment.
However, the ECHR ruled last Tuesday that the British hospital was correct and the treatment in the U.S. could not help Charlie. The court said the application by the parents was “inadmissible” and added that their decision was “final”.
They acknowledged “sensitive moral and ethical issues” had been raised in the case, but said they respected the “domestic legal framework” of the UK which had come to the same judgement.
Charlie was born healthy, but suffers from a rare genetic condition called mitochondrial depletion syndrome and has serious brain damage.