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Baby Charlie Gard can not be moved to Vatican, says Boris Johnson

06 July 2017

Chris Gard and Connie Yates with their son Charlie Gard, at Great Ormond Street Hospital, in London.

She has given her backing to doctors at the world-famous children's hospital who are not able to move the youngster after courts in the United Kingdom and Europe ruled his life support should be switched off.

The hospital were intending to turn Charlie's life support machine off on Friday but made the decision to give his parents more time with him after they posted an emotional video saying they had been denied their final wish to take him home to die. They have raised about $1.7 million to do so, and have found an American hospital willing to provide the therapy.

Charlie has been diagnosed with mitochondrial depletion syndrome, a rare genetic disease thought to affect just 16 children in the world.

"If the relationship between doctor and patient (or parents as in Charlie's case) is interfered with, everything becomes more hard and legal action becomes a last resort, with the accompanying risk of ideological or political manipulation, which is always to be avoided, or of media sensationalism, which can be sadly superficial". Further court actions, including a decision by the European Court of Human Rights June 27, upheld the ruling.

Rome's Bambino Gesu hospital, a Vatican-run children's hospital, offered to treat 10 month-old Charlie Gard after Pope Francis said on Sunday that his parents should be allowed to "care for their child until the end".

There are now no approved treatments for these conditions and in most cases, the children progress in a similar manner that Charlie did (being born healthy then quickly deteriorating as muscle strength declines).

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However, Boris Johnson has expressed doubt that Charlie could be treated overseas, saying decisions on his treatment should be led by expert medical opinion, supported by the courts.

Previously, Pope Francis called on Gard's parents to be allowed to decide what happens to the child.

His message was shortly followed by an offer of sanctuary from the Paediatric Hospital Bambino Gesu - known as the "Pope's Hospital" - in order to preserve the child's life. Yet Charlie's parents kept fighting for him hard. His parents subsequently found out that 18 people have been treated in the US with an experimental medication that could remedy the condition.

Not in the United States, but it appears they can in the UK. It is a principle that applies even in cases where parents have an alternative point of view, according to Britain's Court of Appeal. "The foreign secretary said this was a deeply tragic and complex case for all involved, and said it was right that decisions continued to be led by expert medical opinion, supported by the courts, in line with Charlie's best interests", the spokeswoman said. In other words, the hospital is legally justified in removing the child from life support so that he is no longer suffering.

Chiara accepts that each of the countries have different laws but said she felt compelled to speak out on the case after following it on social media. "It's a terrible thing to have to decide".

"It's certainly good news for those parents". A family's ability to afford endless care usually poses a bigger obstacle than ethical disagreements. "In this case, it's very hard to say if this is suffering by therapy or not. For this he prays that their wish to accompany and treat their child until the end is not neglected".

Baby Charlie Gard can not be moved to Vatican, says Boris Johnson