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Anorak | Charlie Gard: an emotive trial by media

Charlie Gard: an emotive trial by media

by | 28th, July 2017

charlie gard

 

Charlie Gard’s face is splashed across the Daily Mail’s front page. His face hovers above the word “MANSLAUGHTER”. The accusation is not levelled at those who have ruled that the child should die but given some of the reaction to his story it might as well be.

A judge, a rank the Mail not long ago labelled “enemies of the people”, has “ruled” that Charlie Gard cannot die at home. His parents’ words – “We’ve been denied out final wish” – complete the picture. This is another chapter of the story of parents v State – and once gain the State is winning.

Charlie Gard has featured on the Mail’s front page many times. His loving parents sold their story and we got to know about the chronically ill baby boy and his parents’ fight to defy the experts and allow him to leave hospital and undergo experimental treatment.

 

daily mail charlie gard covers

charlie gard newspapers

 

The court case is now over. Charlie Gard will not be subjected to any further treatment. His parents conceded defeat in their legal battle. He is being allowed to die. Reason has triumphed over hope. One US website told is readers that Charlie Gard is the baby the “British courts sentenced to death”. But the ruling was never that callous. Nothing close to it. The therapy on offer was no cure. The High Court judge heard from eight doctors and two nurses. He told the court: “The entire highly experienced UK team, all those who provided second opinions and the consultant instructed by the parents in these proceedings share a common view that further treatment would be futile.”‘ Charlie Gard is living what might be termed a faux life, kept going by machinery but not living autonomously. Medical opinion is in total agreement: he will never get better.

The judge added: “If Charlie’s damaged brain function cannot be improved, as all seem to agree, then how can he be any better off than he is now, which is in a condition that his parents believe should not be sustained?… with complete conviction… that it is in Charlie’s best interests that I accede to these applications and rule that Great Ormond Street Hospital (SOSH) may lawfully withdraw all treatment, save for palliative care, to permit Charlie to die with dignity.”

But emotions run high. Reason fails to inspire. The Star notes how “some on social media channels for campaign group ‘Charlie’s Army’ believe the tot will breathe on his own.” Would you take belief over medial knowledge?

So now news that Charlie’s parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, have been denied time with their child.  They wanted to spend “a week or so” in a hospice with their son before the machines keeping him alive were switched off. But GOSH says that would require a round-the-clock intensive care team. And with none forthcoming by the courts’ deadline, a GOSH spokesman tells media: “Sadly, as the judge has now ruled, there is simply no way that Charlie, a patient with such severe and complex needs, can spend any significant time outside of an intensive care environment safely. The risk of an unplanned and chaotic end to Charlie’s life is an unthinkable outcome for all concerned and would rob his parents of precious last moments with him. As the judge has now ruled, we will arrange for Charlie to be transferred to a specialist children’s hospice, whose remarkable and compassionate staff will support his family at this impossible time.”

Intensive life support cannot be supplied away from a hospital intensive care unit. So Charlie Gard cannot die at home.

This, says the Mail, is “heart-wrenching”. Charlie’s mother tells the paper amid photos of a family picnic  by GOSH: “We just want some peace with our son, no hospital, no lawyers, no courts, no media just quality time with Charlie away from everything to say goodbye to him in the most loving way. Most people won’t ever have to go through what we have been through, we’ve had no control over our son’s life and no control over our son’s death.”

The parents now agree with his son’s doctors that he should die in a hospice. They want him to be kept alive for up to a week but medics say he should “slip away” within a few hours of arriving.

And so a baby kept alive for five months will be allowed to die. The medics who looked after Charlie Gard are not uncaring pen-pushers. GOSH and the courts are not places where children are sentenced to death and human life is cheap. Ethics matter.

But something nags. Was it all about money? And if it was – and money must always be a factor when resources are not infinite – why can’t a rich country provide for its own?

This struggle was for Charlie Gard and the future for us all. It was for those not yet born. It was for love, reason and force of argument. Through that we hope to get to the truth.



Posted: 28th, July 2017 | In: News, Tabloids Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink