Charlie Gard: Hospital applies for fresh hearing 'in light of claims of new evidence' on potential treatment

'We believe, in common with Charlie’s parents, it is right to explore this evidence'

Katie Forster
Health Correspondent
Friday 07 July 2017 18:33 BST
Eleven-month-old Charlie Gard has a form of mitochondrial disease and is ventilator-dependent
Eleven-month-old Charlie Gard has a form of mitochondrial disease and is ventilator-dependent

Great Ormond Street Hospital has applied to the High Court for a fresh hearing in the case of sick baby Charlie Gard.

The hospital said it had done so “in light of claims of new evidence relating to potential treatment” for the 11-month-old, who has a genetic disease that causes progressive muscle weakness.

The European Court of Human Rights rejected an appeal from baby Charlie’s parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard to take him to the US for experimental treatment.

But the case has since caused an international furore, with Donald Trump and Pope Francis offering to help baby Charlie.

“Two international hospitals and their researchers have communicated to us as late as the last 24 hours that they have fresh evidence about their proposed experimental treatment,” said Great Ormond Street Hospital in a statement.

“And we believe, in common with Charlie’s parents, it is right to explore this evidence.”

The decision comes after researchers at the Vatican children's hospital implored doctors to reconsider allowing an experimental treatment to be used.

Clinicians from the Bambino Gesu paediatric hospital's neurosciences department said tests in mice and patients with a similar, but not the same, genetic condition had shown “dramatic clinical improvements”.

A spokesman for the Rome-based institution said the letter, which was posted on the website hours after the boy's parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard met Great Ormond Street Hospital medics, had been sent by the hospital.

Charlie, who was born on 4 August 2016, inherited the faulty RRM2B gene, which affects the cells responsible for energy production and respiration, leaving him unable to move or breath without a ventilator, from his parents.

During the original hearings, doctors said it would be kinder for him to move to an end-of-life care regime, as his condition has "deteriorated hugely" since he first came to the children's hospital.

A High Court listing says the case will be heard by Mr Justice Francis at 2pm on Monday, reported the BBC.

The hospital is currently bound by the High Court ruling that "expressly forbids us from transferring Charlie for nucleoside therapy anywhere", it said.

“Our doctors have explored every medical treatment, including experimental nucleoside therapies. Independent medical experts agreed with our clinical team that this treatment would be unjustified,” said the hospital.

“Not only that, but they said it would be futile and would prolong Charlie’s suffering. This is not an issue about money or resources, but absolutely about what is right for Charlie.

“Our view has not changed. We believe it is right to seek the High Court’s view in light of the claimed new evidence. Our priority has always been, and will always be, the best interests of Charlie Gard.”

Great Ormond Street said it “respectfuly acknowledges” offers of help from the White House, the Vatican and medical experts “in Italy, the United States and beyond”.

“We would like to reassure everyone that Great Ormond Hospital will continue to care for Charlie and his family with the utmost respect and dignity through this very difficult time.”

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