Little Charlie Gard: Victim of Rampant Disposable Culture – Cardinal Sgreccia

Little Charlie Gard: Victim of Rampant Disposable Culture – Cardinal Sgreccia

Little Charlie Gard’s Case in 10 Points, by Cardinal Sgreccia
Give Care Even When One Cannot Cure
July 5, 2017
ZENIT Staff Pope & Holy See

by Constance Roques with Anita Bourdin

Italian Cardinal Elio Sgreccia, former President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, analyzed little Charlie Gard’s case and offered “10 critical points” for consideration in the Italian daily La Stampa, on Monday, July 3, 2017.

We recall that Charlie Gard was born on August 4, 2016 and suffers from mitochondrial depletion syndrome, which has affected his brain. He receives assistance to breathe, is hydrated and fed through a tube, but receives no other care.

Give Care Even when One Cannot Cure

Cardinal Sgreccia stressed first of all that “the non-curable character can never be confused with incurability” (1).

He explained: “A person affected by an ailment considered, in the present state of medicine, as incurable, is paradoxically the subject that, more than any other, has the right to request and obtain continuous assistance and care, attention and devotion: it is a cardinal principle of the ethics of care . . . The human face of medicine is manifested precisely in the clinical practice of ‘taking care’ of the life of the suffering and the sick.”
Human Dignity

Cardinal Sgreccia then affirmed the intrinsic dignity (2) of every human being and the rights that stem from it, regardless of his state of health: “The right to be continually the object, or better still, the subject of attention and care on the part of members of the family and others, lies in the dignity of a human person, including a new-born, sick and suffering, and never ceases to be possessed.”

Feeding and Hydration Are Not Therapies

He then recalled the duty to feed and hydrate (3): they are not aps of therapies but the minimum necessary to survive of every human being: “Artificial feeding-hydration through a nose-gastric tube in no case can be considered as a therapy . . . Water and food do not become medications by the sole fact that they are administered artificially; consequently, interrupting them is not like suspending a therapy, but it is to let someone die of hunger and thirst who simply cannot feed himself autonomously.

The Parents’ Decision

Cardinal Sgreccia pointed out that there must not be a caesura between the doctors’ gestures and the parents’ will (4): “The cardinal idea that founds the informed consensus is linked to the principle according to which the patient is never an anonymous individual . . . but a conscious and responsible subject . . . This implies the necessity that he be involved in the decisional processes that concern him, in a dialogic relation that avoids his finding himself in the situation of having to suffer passively the decisions and choices of others. The history of little Charlie proves on the contrary that, in the course of time, a dynamic has been created of substantial detachment between the decisions of the medical team and the will of the parents.”

An Integral Palliative Approach

Cardinal Sgreccia declared himself in favor (5) of an “integral palliative” approach: “It is possible that the experimental therapy does not give the medical results expected, but it is also true that Charlie’s sufferings call for an integral palliative and systematic approach that could hypothetically accompany the experimentation itself.”

To Keep the Pain under Control

Cardinal Sgreccia recommended (6) to keep the pain under control”: “ In our opinion, the principle of the best interest of the minor hardly entails, or better, hardly legitimizes a passive form of euthanasia as that which was decided to practice on little Charlie. We believe that his best interest lies in the direction of assuring him the most dignified existence possible, through an opportune antalgic strategy, which enables to keep the pain under control should it prove to be impossible to follow the route to access the experimental protocol already underway in the United States. It is exactly what Charlie’s parents have not ceased to request up to today.”

The Opinion of the European Court 

The Cardinal believes (7) that the European Court did not respect these criteria: ‘The European Court of Human Rights has glided in an unbelievable way on all the aspects of content listed up to here and it also seems that it went beyond, assuming a purely procedural position, in the name of the principle of the margin of appreciation … It considered that it should not enter the subject of the issue of the suspension of artificial feeding-hydration-respiration in the name of that sovereign autonomy of the Member States, which authorizes them to regulate at their discretion the themes of the ethically most complicated aspects, such as the case of the practicability or not of passive euthanasia on a new-born.”

A “Rampant Disposable Culture”

Cardinal Sgreccia lamented the “rampant disposable culture”: “Hidden behind each aspect of this story, although never mentioned, is the idea of the efficacy in the management of health resources that pushes to make use of them in a manner that cannot but generate a rampant disposable culture.”

The False Paradigm of the “Quality of Life”

He questioned (9) the “paradigm” of the so-called “quality of life”: “More disquieting yet is the lightness with which the paradigm of quality of life is accepted, namely, that cultural model that inclines to recognize the non-dignity of certain human existences, completely identified and confused with the pathology of which they are bearers or with the sufferings with which they are accompanied.”

Euthanasia Demanded 

Finally, Cardinal Sgreccia lamented (10) a drift toward a trivialized euthanasia: “In the transparency of schizophrenic positions implied by these new cultural paradigms, one can perceive the ambivalence of those that, in demanding the freedom of total and indiscriminate access to euthanasia – basing it on the exclusive predominance of individual autonomy — deny at the same time this decisional autonomy in other cases, as the one of which we speak, where it is considered that only the doctors have the legitimacy to decide, without any involvement of the parents.”

Readiness of the Vatican’s Hospital

We recall likewise that on Monday, July 3, the President of the Bambino Gesu (Infant Jesus) pediatric hospital, a dependency of the Vatican, Mrs Mariella Enoc, said she was ready to receive Charlie Gard in Rome if his parents so wished and if his state permitted it.

In a press release on Monday, July 3, 2017, she quoted in Italian Pope Francis’ Tweet, posted on his account @Pontifex_it on June 30: “Defend human life, especially when it is wounded by sickness, is a commitment of love that God entrusts to every man.”

“The Holy Father’s words, in reference to little Charlie, summarize well the mission of the Bambino Gesu hospital. That is why I asked the Health Director to verify with London’s Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, where the new-born is hospitalized, and if the health conditions exist for Charlie’s eventual transfer to our hospital. We know that the case is desperate and that, apparently, effective therapies do not exist.”

Pope Francis’ Closeness

Mrs Enoc expressed her closeness to the parents, saying: “We are close to the parents through prayer and if it is their wish, we are ready to receive their child at our hospital for the time that remains to him to live.”

Pope Francis addressed a message to Charlie Gard’s parents on Sunday evening, July 2, expressing his closeness, through his spokesman, Greg Burke: “The Holy Father follows with affection and emotion the affair of little Charlie Gard and he expresses his closeness to his parents.” Pope Francis, he said, “prays for them and hopes that their desire to accompany and care for their child to the end is not disregarded.”

On June 27, the European Court of Human Rights rejected the request to take the child to the United States for experimental treatment and the British High Court pronounced itself in favor of halting the respiratory, hydration and feeding assistance.

Mrs Mariella Enoc, President of Rome’s Bambino Gesu hospital, who had expressed her readiness to receive the baby, if his transfer was possible and if his parents so wished, announced on Tuesday, July 4 that the transfer would not be possible for “legal” reasons: it is in any case the answer of the English hospital where Charlie is at present, reported Vatican Radio. Mrs Enoc said she was contacted by the baby’s mother to discuss his care.
In regard to surmounting the legal reasons, the Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin assured : “If we can do so, we will,” reported the same source.
[Article Translated from French]  Source – Zenit


The UK Government cites “legal grounds” for not permitting this baby to be taken to the Vatican Hospital – click here

Recall,  though, that the “legal grounds” for only permitting people of opposite genders to marry were overturned in a heartbeat, as was the law prohibiting the murder of unborn babies in their mothers’ wombs.  Laws can be changed when it suits politicians.  What, then, is going on here? Why are the doctors and politicians so keen to allow this baby to die, despite his parents’ desperate desire to keep him, care for him, raise him in a loving home? What is going on?

Comments (126)

  • Therese

    Forgive me, but I refuse to bow in deference before someone who expresses such a barbaric view just because he holds a Degree in Medicine/Fellow of the college of surgeons etc.

    Hear hear. AND he wasn’t, and isn’t, alone in that view. Doctors have been coming up with ever more sophisticated methods to hunt babies with Down’s Syndrome in the womb in order to slaughter them. I wouldn’t trust a doctor, or a nurse for that matter, unless I knew that their views on the sanctity of human life were sound, AND that they were prepared to stand by those views.

    July 24, 2017 at 11:02 pm
  • editor

    Bloggers sometimes send me links to “see what I think”. Today, a blogger sent me the video below by email. I’m not always near my computer, so I suggest that if there is an article or video that you think is interesting or useful, just post it straight onto the blog.

    Below, Nigel Farage fires with both barrels on the Charlie Gard case… To every word of which, I say hear, hear.


    July 26, 2017 at 6:46 pm
  • Elizabeth


    May I suggest that bloggers take a look at the GOSH official statement and then decide whether they have tried to act in the child’s best interests.

    July 26, 2017 at 8:15 pm
    • Lily


      Most of that statement has been read out on TV at various times.

      I fail to see how anyone can possibly disagree with Nigel Farage. He has said it all, there, in that video interview. I just don’t understand anyone who cannot see the truth is what he has said about the British establishment. They’ve all, doctors, lawyers, judge, shown utter contempt for those parents and for the parents of Ashya King, four years ago. As Farage said, the USA is hardly a third world country, so it was unconscionable to them to refuse that chance, however slim, to that little boy.

      And no, I don’t think the GOSH acted in the child’s best interests. I think they did, just as Farage said, work hard and spent a fortune in court costs, rather than risk the boy being saved by the treatment abroad. Their own reputation is what I suspect was uppermost in their minds, but as far as many people are concerned, myself included, that now lies in tatters.

      July 26, 2017 at 8:41 pm
    • editor


      I’m not at all impressed with that statement, which is more about the GOSH staff than about the baby or his parents. It reminds me of the kind of “apology” a pupil in school might write to a teacher; more an excuse than an apology: “If you hadn’t picked on me, I wouldn’t have lost my temper…” !

      In any case, with respect, I think that you are missing the point. It’s not the place of those doctors (or any doctors) to over-ride the parents’ legitimate wishes to seek help from another hospital, including overseas, if that is what the parents choose. That’s the fundamental right of the parents. I think parents would be wise, from now on, in the event of a child requiring hospital treatment, to refuse to sign any consent form, but, instead, to invite a witness into the room and give verbal consent ONLY for the agreed treatment, thereafter to be re-assessed, with the parents deciding the next step. I think parents must stop signing these consent forms and thus, effectively, find that they have handed their child over to doctors, with no other meaningful say in the child’s welfare.

      That the GOSH staff have kept Charlie in that hospital against the wishes of the parents, with the support of the courts, is outrageous, and that right to the end. It’s unbelievable.

      So, no, I am not impressed with the statement from GOSH. I think Nigel Farage nailed the truth of this situation brilliantly and I sincerely hope the GOSH staff see that video because the media here have been a disgrace, throughout, carefully choosing their commentators, all of whom have taken the view that “of course” the right place for this to be decided is in the courts. DUH…

      There’s one more thing that I would like to put before you, for your consideration. I do not mean any offence, and I sincerely hope that you don’t take offence but when I read your latest post, placed under the Nigel Farage video, and so I’m presuming that you have watched the Farage interview, a conversation came to mind, that I had with a friend some years ago. Allow me to explain – and if I’m wrong in making the association I’m about to make, I will accept your word, no problem.

      Some years ago, as the LGBT movement was gaining ground, I found myself discussing it with a friend who (at that time) held the same “shock horror” view as myself about homosexual activity. A modernist Catholic, I believe she’s eased her “views” somewhat.

      All those years ago, however, she made the point that it would be almost impossible, in some cases at least, for parents who discovered that one of their children were homosexually inclined, to see it for the evil which it is. In such cases, my friend argued, it would be perfectly understandable if the parent accepted the situation, and defended the child’s “orientation” as “normal”.

      That was the gist of what my friend said and – remembering that you mentioned above that you have children who are doctors – I can’t help wondering if it is a strand of that same mindset which makes you so keen to absolve the GOSH staff from blame in this matter. It’s just a thought, but it is a thought which came to my mind because, frankly, I haven’t met anyone else, over the months that this case has been in the news, who has not seen the hospital and the courts as massively and blatantly infringing the rights of the parents to do everything in their power to save their child.

      If, after all, the child had been taken to the USA and the experimental treatment had failed, GOSH could have said “told you so” and no blame could have been laid at their door. However, as Nigel Farage points out, in the case of the treatment being successful, well, that’s a different kettle of fish. In summary: “the hospital staff” and “egg on faces” springs to mind.

      No, it seems to me that GOSH has not put the best interests of Charlie first. GOSH was putting the best interests of the reputation of GOSH first. No question about it. I see the parents of Charlie Gard as having been treated with the utmost contempt, right to the end – to where we are today. It would be wonderful if a paediatrician replied to Connie’s plea for practical help in the matter of facilitating Charlie’s return home for his final days, but it doesn’t seem likely.

      One piece of good news which I hope is true, is that, according to a friend (I’ve not read this anywhere myself) Charlie has been baptised by a Catholic priest. When, therefore, he leaves us for Heaven, we should pray to him to obtain great graces of insight and repentance for all those who have been complicit in acting against his parents’ wishes, whether they acted with malice or not – for such elementary parental rights in the case of a sick child, is a matter of natural justice and should be obvious to all right thinking people.

      July 26, 2017 at 11:49 pm
  • Elizabeth


    Firstly I am not at offended by your comments. The fact that we have doctors in the family, one a very hard working GP and mother, and the other a specialist in tropical and infectious diseases who, incidentally went three times to help with the Ebola crisis (only mention that because I am a very proud Mum!) has not I think influenced my views particularly.

    It is more that my experience as a former GOS Ward sister that makes me see the hospital in a kindler light than others at the moment. The motto and ethos of the hospital is “Children First and Always” and that I think helps to explain the reasoning behind its position. To suggest that pride and a desire to save face lies behind their reluctance to allow the baby to go to the US for experimental treatment is untenable. If you have read the whole statement you will see that they sought other opinions several months ago but did not think it feasible for such a sick child to be carted across the world on such unconvincing possibilities of a cure.

    This debate is really about the question of whether the parents are the only people who can make final decisions in such cases. Do parents have rights over children or rather duties towards them.? When there are disagreements between hospitals and parents is it not right that the courts not the state should make the final decision? Arbitration is better but would that have been effective here? I don’t know and am conflicted on the whole question anyway.

    I don’t think Nigel Farage should have weighed in here but the world and his wife have an opinion so why not!!

    July 27, 2017 at 10:36 am
    • editor


      Thank you for not taking offence. I appreciate that very much, as I appreciate your legitimate pride as a mum of two hard-working and self-sacrificing doctors. I always feel huge admiration for those who work in the area of infectious diseases, so your specialist son gets our Golden Rose award, or would do if we HAD a Golden Rose award 😀

      I think, though, that we will just have to agree to disagree over the GOSH case. In a situation where the parents are happy to take the advice of the medics, that’s fine, but where there is a situation like this one, I do think that the State – as in the doctors and courts – should not interfere because the parents were not demanding extra resources etc; they were able and willing to pay for everything, and that, I think, is what makes the difference. There is, as we know, no obligation on anyone, as a norm, to go to extraordinary lengths to preserve life, while doing all in our power to save a life.

      Anyway, let’s just pray for the right lessons to be learned from this case all round, and pray, too, for Charlie’s parents on the death of the baby. No need to pray for Charlie’s soul – we know he’s set for Heaven!

      July 27, 2017 at 11:21 am
  • Therese

    According to Life site News, this little innocent has now died. I’m sure we will all pray for his grieving parents, and for the intransigent staff who denied him the chance – no matter how slight – of life.

    July 28, 2017 at 7:51 pm
    • editor


      Yes, very sad that the parents had so little time with him. The following statement from Connie Yates was read out on Sky News yesterday, as “breaking news” but since then, only a very shortened version was quoted – with no mention of the flat, doctors, nurses, equipment etc offered. Shocking and blatant censorship.


      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’ve been through. We’ve have had no control over our son’s life and no control over our son’s death.
      We are pleased this morning, well as happy as you can be at a time like this, two doctors came forward to offer their help to grant Chris and I our final wish, which was to spend a few days to make precious memories with our beloved son away from the hospital environment.

      In short, the first doctor that came forward was a senior hospital consultant with a dual GMC registration for paediatrics and neonatology. The second doctor is a consultant respiratory paediatrician. These doctors were willing to share the care and be on side 24/7. We also had a team of intensive care nurses who would be by Charlie’s bedside 24/7 on rotation.

      Additionally, we have been offered the use of a two bedroom flat which is fully equipped with all the required equipment.

      Despite us and our legal team working tirelessly to arrange this near-impossible task, the judge has ordered against what we arranged and has agreed to what Great Ormond Street Hospital asked.

      This subsequently gives us very little time with our son. I’m not allowed to discuss the time or place, but I’m shocked that after all we’ve been through they won’t allow us this extra time.

      Seeing as they didn’t allow us our wish, we then asked for extra time here but this has also been denied. Source.

      Reporting the baby’s death on Sky news tonight, Joshua Rozenberg, their legal correspondent had the temerity to say that it is important that parents not be allowed to decide what is in the child’s best interests in these cases, emphasising that the ultimate decision MUST lie with the judge/courts. About as sensitive as a sledge hammer in the circumstances. His words – no doubt quoted again later, so worth trying to catch it on the news – stand alone and are chilling. Important parents not to allow to decide what is in their child’s best interests? Really?

      One thing I sincerely hope and pray is this; that whatever is left of the £million donated for Charlie’s care, is NOT donated to any UK hospital but is given to the Professor’s clinic to continue his research work in the USA. I mean that sincerely. It would stick in my throat to think of the doctors here benefiting even remotely from baby Charlie’s case.

      July 28, 2017 at 9:17 pm
      • Josephine


        I am stunned that the parents had that flat, doctors etc laid on and the judge still refused them the extra time. How CRUEL!

        I totally agree about the money – I think the parents are too intelligent to allow themselves to be persuaded to give it to any UK charity. It really should go to the USA to help with the research at Colombia University.

        July 28, 2017 at 11:25 pm
  • Elizabeth

    And finally….
    And it might be worth looking at Melanie Phillips article too if you google it. Just a balanced response to all the rubbish that has been written about this sad case.

    July 29, 2017 at 1:44 pm
    • Lily


      Even if that article is accurate, factually, even if the doctors were all right and the courts were all right, which I do not necessarily accept given that the writer was patently biased against all critics (there wasn’t a single thing they were right about!)and that there have been other cases where the “facts” were cast iron and later proved to be not accurate, after all (Ashya King, for one) that doesn’t change the fact that they would not even allow Charlie to spend some time with his parents in the flat provided with all the necessary equipment, two well qualified doctors and a team of nurses round the clock. That smacks of vengeance to me, and I cannot understand it. What possible harm could it have done to allow him to spend his last days in that fully equipped flat with his mum and dad?

      More than once in his article, the writer emphasises that “children are not the property of their parents” but ignores the fact that they are definitely not the property of the doctors and courts either. There is a definite anti-parental rights movement in the UK, which has its roots in the feminist movement’s drive to get mothers out to work. The State thinks it owns the nation’s children, but it doesn’t.

      If only the doctors and courts were half as bothered about the rights of the unborn child just to be born, that would be something, but they’re not, so I am not too impressed with their supposed concern for Charlie’s wellbeing, as they keep calling it. I think Charlie’s parents did the right thing in challenging GOSH and I hope something good comes of it to help parents. There are quite a few cases like this every year, I heard on one news bulletin, so let’s hope it makes doctors and courts think carefully before acting against parents in future.

      July 29, 2017 at 3:58 pm
      • Margaret USA

        BRAVO!!! Three cheers for Lily!!! 👏 👏 👏

        July 29, 2017 at 6:37 pm
      • Martin


        If you read, or heard, any accurate reports you would know that:

        1. The equipment would not fit into their property.

        2. They could not even find specialists, who they were going to pay, who were even prepared to be on duty in a medical unit i.e a Court appointed Hospice.

        If the Doctors, and Courts were right, and they unlike you, and any journalist had access to his medical records, and the Doctors, of course, examined him, then you would know they believe he was in constant pain.

        If I were a parent I would not want a child be in constant pain so that I could have “quality time” with him at home. Further, as has been proven, without the equipment he couldn’t live, and his death would have been even quicker than the parents wanted.

        July 29, 2017 at 7:44 pm
      • editor


        That the doctors “believed” Charlie (or anyone else) was in constant pain means nothing or should mean nothing in a court of law. If I said I “believed” one of our bloggers, Martin, was about to murder his granny, the cops would send me packing and tell me to keep my beliefs for church.

        July 29, 2017 at 8:10 pm
      • Martin

        Their “belief” was based on their expert medical knowledge, various scans, and tests, and understanding of the human body.

        As Charlie couldn’t communicate, but the experts and the Courts, guided by the experts, made a reasoned judgement, I think I would side by the courts rather than non qualified parents lacking objectivity.

        July 29, 2017 at 8:14 pm
      • editor

        You clearly have contempt for parental rights. That’s been obvious throughout. You’re “in with the in crowd” on that – I’m just amazed that you haven’t been called in to comment on the TV news – any TV news!

        July 29, 2017 at 8:33 pm
      • Martin

        I have a healthy respect for experts in their field, the Courts which uphold and respect our freedoms, and value parenthood as one of the noblest vocations there is, but parenthood does not confer infallibility and that is why the courts must sometimes act in the interest of a child. We must remember the only qualification to become a parent is the ability to procreate, whereas good parenting requires much much more.

        July 29, 2017 at 8:42 pm
      • editor

        I have a healthy respect for experts in their field, as well. I just marvel at the way they are replacing parents in the decision making process.

        I just can’t imagine myself standing back and allowing a total stranger, expert or not, to decide that he/she cares more about my child’s “well-being” than I do. Wouldn’t happen.

        July 29, 2017 at 11:15 pm
      • Martin

        So as a parent you should make complex medical decisions on gut instinct? Some parents beat, starve and abuse children. What a caring loving caring nature some people have!

        July 30, 2017 at 6:13 am
      • Lily

        “less than one in 10 cases of child sexual abuse involve a parent or guardian.”

        I don’t think you could accuse Charlie’s parents of abuse! Also, I don’t think you need to be able to make complex medical decisions to organise a fully equipped flat and top qualified doctors to see him through his final days. You just need to be a loving, caring parent.

        July 30, 2017 at 7:38 am
      • Martin


        You quote a figure for the sexual abuse of children. I have not mentioned sexual abuse.

        It may have escaped your notice but millions of children have been aborted at the request of one who both parents.

        The fact of conceiving a child, which means becoming a parent, does not mean the said parents will always act in the interests of the child they conceived> Parenthood does not confer knowledge or parental instincts.

        The medical experts, and The Courts, concluded that whatever claims are made by his parents the provision they put in place was NOT suitable.

        Not me, not a journalist, but legal and medical experts said that the best option was an option because what was proposed was NOT adequate. They unlike you, or me, and countless commentators knew all the facts and had the expertise, which his parents did not, to judge the best course of action.

        Charlie was in one of the finest hospitals in the world but his parents knew better? The Courts and Independent experts spoke but his parents knew better? I doubt the answer is yes.

        And, as I have pointed out, the courts in other countries, and in particular in the US, intervene in the interests of the child when the parents lack objectivity, and knowledge.

        July 30, 2017 at 1:32 pm
      • editor

        No,no, no! The parents can NEVER know better than the State. That’s what the Legal Correspondent for Sky News keeps telling us. It’s what all the people who comment on the news tell us. All the experts tell us that, so what’re you on about!

        The parents must NEVER be allowed to decide what is in their children’s best interests. What do they know? They conceive the child, they bring the child into the world and then, of COURSE, they hand baby over to Nanny State to make all necessary decisions. What’re you LIKE not knowing that! Shucks! Even I’ve got that now… Where you AT?!

        July 30, 2017 at 2:49 pm
      • Martin


        Conceiving a child does not confer special knowledge on those that conceive it. Nor does it necessarily bring with it a parental instinct to love and nurture a child.

        Parenthood brings rights and responsibilities.

        Parents, can and do, make wrong choices.

        Would you ever argue that a child, from the moment of its conception, always has its own rights and dignity and full personhood?

        It is a tad illogical to argue to pro-abortionist that the child is a distinct human being with its own innate rights and then, when it suits a person, argue that same child cannot look to society or the Courts ,to protects its rights even if, in ignorance, and misguidedly, the parents are hurting him or her.

        Are you really willing to argue that parenthood alone makes you the final artbiter of what is good for a child?

        Have police spent years looking for a child whose loving parents left them to go for a meal?

        Have many children, rightly, ended up in care, and Wards of Court, precisely because their parents lack the skills and means to care for them.

        Are not millions of babies crying to heaven – and are hopefully in heaven – because parenthood did not save them from the horror of death in the womb?

        July 30, 2017 at 3:03 pm
      • editor

        As usual, Martin, you switch subjects when it suits.

        You cannot take the fact that nobody, not even a parent, is perfect and then plunge into the non-sequitur that, ergo, parents don’t have rights.

        You know perfectly well that nobody is arguing for absolute rights for anyone, but until now, the intervention of the State in the care of children has been limited to acting on behalf of children where there is abuse. In Scotland, they got it so wrong on that front, missed cases of real abuse, that they have tried to introduce a state guardian for every child from conception to the age of 18! Crazy, CRAZY people.

        Going to the trouble of organising a fully equipped flat, two consultants and a team of nurses to see their child through his final two or three days can hardly be construed – even by the most woolly thinker – as “abuse.”

        Now, you clearly are one of those people who thinks the State always knows best, so we are not going to agree. I suggest therefore that you find another blog where like minded people are attacking the parents and gushing over the State – trust me, there’s no end of them out there.

        I will NEVER change my view on this, having studied it from every angle. I think GOSH overstepped the mark and I think they know that, given their admission that they have plenty to learn from the case or words to that effect. So, please stop trying to convince me that the State got it right, that parents have no right to control over their own children – I will, thank God, never think like that – ever. Not even when the State re-education facilities open up to sort out people who insist on thinking for themselves.

        July 30, 2017 at 3:19 pm
      • Martin


        With respect, I am not saying parents don’t have rights. I have even said they have rights and responsibilities.

        You have argued that no Court expert would ever trump the rights of a parents. That is a fallacy and a nonsense.

        Parents err and children themselves have rights and they should be able to look to society, and the Courts, to uphold those especially especially if the sheer ignorance, or malignant neglect of their carers causes them harm.

        I have not introduced a false or taken a wrong turn.

        You cannot both argue a chilld has rights and that a parent can overide them. That is a fallacy.

        July 30, 2017 at 3:28 pm
      • Martin


        The Court and The Independent Medical Experts judged the home for provision for Charlie was inadequate. His parents cannot independently that the provision was sufficient no matter how often they say it. Nor can you, on on any rational basis, argue they are correct or second guess the judgement of The Court.

        The parents having lost the case for transfer to the US spent precious hours in Court quibbling over the best place for him to die when they could have been with him! Most people, as far as I know, would argue that GOSH is one of the finest hospitals in the world.

        July 30, 2017 at 3:33 pm
      • Lily


        Can you give a link to the explanation about why the court and independent judge found the flat unsuitable, because it seems odd that two consultants and presumably whoever set up the equipment would get it so wrong.

        I haven’t read that anywhere. Just that the hospital would not agree to it, and it is very hard to understand how they could do that unless there was a major problem. I suspect they’re nitpicking, as I don’t see the consultants who organised the flat doing anything that would harm the baby at this late stage.

        I think we saw a not very nice side of GOSH when they didn’t show the parents the scan before the court hearing last week. I thought that was nasty.

        July 30, 2017 at 4:33 pm
      • Lily


        The babies who are aborted by parents are aborted by doctors! There’s not a lot of concern for well-being there!

        In the case of the mothers who abort, we need to remember that they are taking the word of the experts that there is nothing but a clump of cells there, and they have every right, under the law, to abort the child if that is what they want.

        Everyone involved in abortion is in the wrong, but the greatest fault, IMHO, lies with those medical people who know perfectly well that what they are killing is not a clump of cells but a real human being.

        July 30, 2017 at 4:37 pm
      • Athanasius


        Until the child reaches the age of maturity, or at least the age of reason, the parents have full rights over the child. Only evident abuse of those God-given rights on the part of parents is sufficient to warrant State or societal intervention.

        In the case of Charlie there was clearly no parental abuse, so the State had no business usurping the parent’s rights. They alone had the full authority from God to decide what they thought best for their child, which in this case was a last hope of potentially life-saving treatment. The State and medical profession deprived them of that right for so long that the delay may well be the reason why wee Charlie was ultimately deemed too far gone for said treatment. Who knows, if the parents were accorded their rights in the first place then maybe we would be discussing a happier ending now.

        The fact is we live in a country whose law makers and medical authorities are responsible for the killing of countless babies in the womb every year. Are you seriously arguing that such a system should be considered morally more competent than parents when deciding what treatment a baby will receive and what treament he will be denied?

        I’m sure even you must know that your argument is untenable. Parents have always had full rights over their own children. The State has no business interfering with that unless the child is genuinely and demonstrably at risk.

        July 30, 2017 at 4:39 pm
      • Athanasius


        I am with you on your second argument, which is that the parents of Charlie should not have gone back to court arguing over where he should die. I found that second challenge on their part greatly distasteful.

        The wee boy was in a very good hospital receiving the best of care available, they should have just spent the last hours with him there. I don’t see what difference it would have made to move the wee soul to another location, especially if it was less well equiped to deal with his complicated situation. I just can’t get my head around that second controversy, he was as comfortable as he could be where he was.

        July 30, 2017 at 4:46 pm
      • Martin


        So parents can and should be allowed to experiment on children, and life does not begin at conception?

        You disagree with The e Declaration of the Rights of the Child, “the child, by reason of his
        physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection,
        before as well as after birth”, Used by pro-lifers in many legal jurisdiction to oppose abortion?

        You agree we can experiment on Human Beings for no proven effect or benefit. The judge in the Charlie Gard Case noted the proposed treatment had only ever been tested on mice, and never ever on anyone with the same condition.

        To quote his summary:
        “20 Charlie suffers from the RRM2B mutation of MDDS. No one in the world has
        ever treated this form of MDDS with nucleoside therapy, although patients
        with a different strain, TK2, have received nucleoside therapy with some
        recorded benefit. In mouse models, the benefit to TK2 patients was put at
        about 4% of life expectancy. There is no evidence that nucleoside therapy can
        cross the blood/brain barrier which it must do to treat RRM2B, although the
        US doctor expressed the hope that it might cross that barrier.
        21 There is unanimity among the experts from whom I have heard that nucleoside
        therapy cannot reverse structural brain damage. I dare say that medical science
        may benefit objectively from the experiment, but experimentation cannot be in
        Charlie’s best interests unless there is a prospect of benefit for him. ”

        The medics were 100% Charlie was in constant pain. The parents not. I would err on the side of the Doctors if I cared for a child, any child.

        Please never ever argue again a child should be protected from conception to birth if you really think a parent – some of whom abuse or abort their children – have an absolute right over them, and are to be treated like chattel.

        July 30, 2017 at 4:56 pm
      • Fidelis


        I used to think that as well, why not just allow him to die in the hospital, but then I realised that for the sake of a couple of days in a home environment, without the hospital routine and personnel, especially given the breakdown in relationships between the parents and the doctors, I couldn’t see why they wouldn’t go the extra mile to allow the parents that final wish of time with their son out of a hospital environment. As it is, the parents feel that they had lost control, completely, over their son and their lives. I find it very sad that they wouldn’t allow the parents that right, since it was the very last stage, and the baby was going to die, they had won the court cases.

        So, I respectfully disagree with you on that one point, but bravo for your previous posts on this.

        July 30, 2017 at 4:58 pm
      • Martin


        With respect, the Judge decided Charlie must go into an Hospice because they had not satisfied The Court their alternative was viable. (They have found some Consultants but not consultants qualified in the specialism Charlie needed. Likewise, it is well reported and documented the equipment would not fit into their flat.

        Just as they did not satisfy The Court an alternative experimental therapy – which had never ever been tested on other than mice would work – would work.

        Just as they rebuffed GOSH when they looked for possible alternative therapies in line with the expressed wishes of the Parents.

        They knew Charlie was soon to die, and even after that was realised, they went back to Court to argue for something they knew they probably could not fulfil when they could have been at his bedside. They put legal wrangling over time with their son who was already receiving specialist dedicated care.

        July 30, 2017 at 7:34 pm
      • editor


        You have clearly missed the statement from Connie Yates giving details about the fully equipped flat, two well qualified doctors and a bunch of round the clock nurses, offered to allow the parents to spend Charlie’s last days with him. The court refused to agree to that. Oh and read this – which is the real issue at the heart of this case.

        July 29, 2017 at 8:01 pm
      • Martin

        The Court clearly understood that the Doctors that volunteered were not appropriate specialists, one was definitely a GP, and the nurses were from the same hospital they were refusing to allow to care for the child!

        July 29, 2017 at 8:06 pm
      • editor

        Wrong again –

        Quote: “In short, the first doctor that came forward was a senior hospital consultant with a dual GMC registration for paediatrics and neonatology. The second doctor is a consultant respiratory paediatrician. These doctors were willing to share the care and be on side 24/7. We also had a team of intensive care nurses who would be by Charlie’s bedside 24/7 on rotation.”

        See Statement from Connie Yates above

        July 29, 2017 at 8:36 pm
      • Martin

        The Court said they did not have the correct qualifications for a child with Charlies condition, and skilled in work with Intensive Care Patients. Having letters after your name is not the same thing. Further, I am 100% that these Doctors came late in the day, and the first to offer was not anywhere near qualified.

        July 29, 2017 at 8:46 pm
    • editor


      No “finally” about it, sorry. The key thing about this case is not, in fact, the medical data but parental rights.

      In America, for example, if there is a disagreement like this over treatment in the case of a sick child, the authorities defer to the parents’ wishes. An advantage, perhaps, of having a private health care system. Somehow, the fact that we pay for our health provision through our taxes and not upfront at the surgery or hospital, disadvantages us at times like this. The impression is given that we are getting health care “free” (not true) and, therefore, the doctors, hospital – the State – has the last word on everything.

      All the talk of the doctors and courts having only “Charlie’s best interests” at heart failed to answer the question, what would Charlie have wanted, had he been able to speak for himself? Would he, like the rest of us, in the face of the SLIMMEST chance of survival have said “no, switch off my machine” or would he have said “yes, please, let’s try the experimental treatment.” Speaking for myself, I know what I would have said. I know what I was thinking at midnight last night when I had to phone NHS 24 about a sudden change in my otherwise robustly healthy condition: please, Lord, not yet! I need time to repent, make up for my many sins! Don’t switch off the “life support” just yet!

      So, the real concern is not whether the doctors were right or not in their diagnosis/prognosis, although there were some who disagreed about the benefits of the experimental treatment, arguing that it was worth a try, but that was not the real issue at the heart of this case, it was, precisely, the increasing intrusion of the State into family life. Hearing the commentators say over and over and over again that “ultimately” it is the “courts” must decide what is in the best interests of a child (not even a sick child, note) is chilling.

      I would have thought, too, Elizabeth, that you would have been shocked at the refusal to allow the parents to spend the baby’s last days in the flat, with medical support. The fact that the TV news coverage has omitted all mention of the offer of the fully equipped flat with said medical support, is disgraceful. Only readers of a certain tabloid newspaper are likely to know about that, or if, like me, they happened to be tuned in to Sky News when the statement came in and was read out, literally, AS it was coming in, live broadcast. Later broadcasts, up to the present time, have omitted that information, which I consider to be utterly dishonest.

      And, what possible difference could it have made to allow the baby to go to that fully equipped flat with doctors and nurses around to allow his parents a day or two with him before he passed away? What possible reason could the State have for refusing that crumb of comfort to the parents? I just do not get it.

      Anyway, back to the key issue of parental rights. The Catholic Herald is far from being my favourite “Catholic” newspaper, but on this, they have a very good article – worth pondering. Click here to read it.

      Melanie Phillips and other such commentators are not Catholics. They are limited in their comprehension, focusing on the medical data as the key issue, and are fully accepting of the intrusive role of the State in family life, so I’m not going to Google Melanie – although I do sometimes agree with her, specifically on the whole “green” movement!

      Charlie has gone now, so we can, I’m sure, agree to pray for his parents. I doubt if they will ever recover from the loss of their little boy in this way.

      July 29, 2017 at 7:43 pm
      • Martin


        May I quote the AMA Journal of Ethics published by the American Medical Association, and it goes directly to the role of the Courts IN AMERICA:,

        “The law’s inquiry into parental competence to provide medical care for a child does not stop at assessing their physical and mental ability to do so; it also examines their willingness to make medically appropriate decisions. The decision of a physically and mentally competent parent to pursue a particular path of treatment may, for example, not accord with the best interests of the child, particularly if a child is not of an age where he or she can contribute to the process. Parents have a legal obligation to refrain from actions that may harm their child. Medical decision making, though, has a certain ambiguity—when does a particular choice indicate that the parent is unable to decide on appropriate care?…..
        It is important to remember that legal competence to make medical decisions for children is not just about physical or mental capacity; it is also about making appropriate, best-interest decisions. Medical neglect statutes examine whether appropriate care was provided, not how it was provided. A parent who refuses care based on an objection to treatment, whatever the basis, is just as likely to have the state intervene to make medical decisions as a parent who is not physically able to provide care or not mentally capable of making decisions” Volume 8 2006

        This is only one article – found with ease.

        Parents must accept the competency of the medics, and the law, if they fail to understand the medical options or the true needs of the child.

        July 29, 2017 at 8:02 pm
      • editor

        Well you see, my information was also found with ease – by speaking/writing to friends who are parents in the USA.


        Listen, it’s DEAD easy to find non-Catholics arguing for the State to run families (see Chapter 2 of the Communist Manifesto) but it is worrying to find so many Catholics now sharing the same view.

        July 29, 2017 at 8:07 pm
      • Martin

        The parents you cite are I assume lawyers, and familiar with every Court Case in The US pertaining to such matters?

        July 29, 2017 at 8:18 pm
      • editor

        How did you know that? WOW!

        July 29, 2017 at 8:34 pm
  • John

    An even more disturbing case in Liverpool, doctors want to turn off the life support of a little boy against the parents wishes. The doctors have not even diagnosed the problems with this little boy?

    August 2, 2017 at 12:04 am
    • editor

      John, I saw this the other day – it’s not gone to court, so hopefully will not happen. I suspect the Charlie Gard case will have made medical staff more hesitant about acting against parents from now on – for a while at any rate.

      August 2, 2017 at 10:25 am

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: