Charlie Gard: US congressmen want to make sick baby an American citizen so he can receive treatment abroad

Republicans vow to introduce a private bill to Congress in battle to save 11-month-old baby

Rachael Revesz
Sunday 09 July 2017 09:56 BST
Charlie cannot move or breathe without aid
Charlie cannot move or breathe without aid

Republican congressmen have pledged to make Charlie Gard a US citizen to support his British parents in their battle to keep an ill baby's life support machine turned on.

Brad Wenstrup and Trent Franks said they would introduce a private bill to Congress when lawmakers return from recess next week in a bid to save the ill baby.

The Republicans said in a statement that his parents, from London, “have refused to give up hope” and that in the US Charlie could “receive treatments that could save his life”.

“They have advocated for him fiercely. They have raised over £1 million to pay for their son to receive experimental treatment in the United States. They have kept fighting for his life.”

They added: “Should this little boy to be ordered to die – because a third party, overriding the wishes of his parents, believes it can conclusively determine that immediate death is what is best for him?”

The congressmen are strongly pro-life. Mr Franks said this week that unless Congress defunded family planning clinic Planned Parenthood, the new health care bill in the US would be "blown to smithereens".

US President Donald Trump also tweeted support for the 11-month-old, who suffers from a rare condition called mitochondrial depletion.

“If we can help little Charlie Gard, as per our friends in the UK and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so.”

The Republicans’ vow comes after Great Ormond Street Hospital applied to the UK’s High Court for another hearing to consider “new evidence of possible treatment” from the Pope’s hospital and a hospital in the US.

Vatican hospital offers to care for Charlie Gard after Pope and Donald Trump tweet support

GOSH said in a statement: “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.

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

“Great Ormond Street Hospital is therefore giving the High Court the opportunity to objectively assess the claims of fresh evidence.”

Charlie Gard's father in plea to 'give my boy a chance'

The U-turn comes after GOSH doctors unanimously decided there was nothing they could do for Charlie and the courts barred him from being taken to the US.

A New York hospital said it would either treat Charlie in the US or ship an experimental drug to the UK. The Pope’s hospital in Rome wrote a letter to GOSH about an “experimental” nucleoside therapy which should be tested on mice first. The Vatican hospital said there was “insufficient time to perform these studies” and urged GOSH to reconsider Charlie’s treatment.

Charlie’s condition has resulted in brain damage. He cannot breathe without a ventilator, blink, move or swallow.

His mother, Connie Yates, told LBC that she would tell Theresa May: “I really, really want you to support us and help give Charlie this chance. I did actually find your statement quite encouraging as you said if there’s new information you hope that Great Ormond Street would do what’s in the best interest of Charlie and there is new information now.”

She added: "I’m pleading with you as the Prime Minister of our country to help one of your citizens, to support us like others are supporting us."

Pro-life protesters gathered outside the British embassy in Washington DC this weekend to keep his life support machine turned on.

Protests will also take place in London on Sunday, attended by Ms Yates and his father Chris Gard.

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