Little Charlie Gard: Victim of Rampant Disposable Culture – Cardinal Sgrecciaeditor
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.”
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.”
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?
The case of Charlie Gard is a disgrace. The parents want their son home with them and they want him to live. That should be an end to it. The fact that most people are seeing it as normal that doctors and the State can run a family and make decisions like this, is chilling.
Yes,it is very chilling. I grew up with people saying that they couldn’t understand the German people for what happened during the Third Reich. I wonder if they understand now?
Well said. Who was it said: “Men learn little from other men’s mistakes” ?
I think the Cardinal makes some very good points. I watched an interview with the father of a boy who suffers from the same condition on morning television conducted by Piers Morgan. The father was very articulate and could cite the treatment of his son to prove that there was hope. Dr Hillary Jones then came on and said we should all trust the doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital. The father again said that there was only one true “expert” in this disease and he was willing to treat Charlie. Again, Dr Hillary didn’t want to know. He simply repeated the party line that the doctors at Great Ormond Street are the experts.
There is definitely a culture that life is disposable. However, this only goes so far. The liberals bend over backwards to provide drugs for active homosexuals so that they can carry on with their immoral lifestyle without fear of dying from AIDS. How much money does that cost ? How much research has been devoted to this? It’s a pity the same amount of care and attention isn’t directed towards poor Charlie.
I, too, saw a father interviewed (but not by Piers Morgan) who had a son with the same condition. His son had not made great progress and the father acknowledged that, but added that he wouldn’t be without him, not for a minute.
It boils down to the most elementary values and the “experts” don’t have them. Their values are dross. What they value in this life is of no lasting value.
Your final observation is spot on, about the lengths to which the “experts” will go to save the life of active homosexuals, and you can bet your last pound coin that they would be diligent in working to save the life of a celebrity drug addict in any operating theatre you care to name, the length and breadth of the UK.
I often think, with all the talk of austerity on the news this past few years, that if Joe & Josephine Public could see for themselves the Government’s financial records, there would be riots on the streets.
There is a glimmer of hope that little Charlie will be spared – and I do mean “spared” because this is a clear cut case of involuntary euthanasia, and should be roundly condemned.
Instead, we hear the usual loud silence from the Bishops of the UK.
They managed to keep Ian Brady alive despite his desperation to die on hunger strike and would fire as many livers as required into ratbags who refused to give up their lives of drinking and debauchery,
Please say again.
Excellent point. It’s truly diabolical the way the innocent are put to death, whether in the womb or by euthanasia, such as Charlie Gard, while those who are less than innocent have their alleged rights protected big time. Diabolical.
I do not say this lightly or without pain, but when it comes to immorality, the British seem to have an edge. In other countries, even European ones, you can have a debate on, say, abortion, but in Britain if you are against abortion you are branded as the moral equivalent of a flat-earther.
The BBC has a lot to answer for. But its dance with evil on multiple levels will bring about its downfall.
This is the very point I made recently on the Scotsman blog – and was amazed to find that the majority of contributors actually agreed with me – that if we so much as hint at the possibility that any of the new morality (especially the LGBT agenda) might be questionable, we are labelled as suffering from a “phobia”. Outrageous.
I am, however, surprised at your claim that in other countries, even in mainland Europe, this is not the case. Pleasantly surprised.
Lifesitenews is covering this tragedy – several reports today including this one. Seems the hospital is “rushing” to switch off Charlie’s life support. I hope I live to see the day when these death-merchant doctors have the socks sued off those same feet which are rushing to kill this child.
I agree with everything said so far here and by the Cardinal, but I am a bit confused about the parents just wanting to take him home and care for him if he is on a ventilator. How could that be done?
I don’t know anything about the practicalities of taking him home, but I presume that once the machine is switched off, he will be alive for a while until he passes away. I presume the parents would rather he be at home with them when that happens. It won’t just be “machine switched off, Charlies is gone” – so better taken home for a few hours in his parents’ arms, than lying in a cold, clinical hospital with uncaring doctors who literally don’t want him around. If it were me, and the choice was between passing away in the company of people who love me, and those doctors, I’d say “no contest”.
I believe that parents have a priority right over the fate of their children and I thought that Doctors were expected to protect especially children life as well as anyone’s life, which is the role of medicine according to the oath of Hippocrates and not to give death.
You are entirely correct. This fashion of the State over-ruling parents is a shocking and worrying development, albeit that the majority of parents and the media numpties don’t seem to be either shocked OR worried. Talk about “useful idiots”.
Anyway, here’s an interesting development. The Pope may give Charlie a Vatican passport to overcome the legal “problems” (as if, in such a case, the need for a passport couldn’t be waived
Now another development – the doctors have u-turned, big time, asking for a fresh court hearing, which will take place on Monday: U-turn reads…
A hospital spokesman said: “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. We believe, in common with Charlie’s parents, it is right to explore this evidence. Read more here
That’s not what they’ve been saying to date, so it is safe to assume, methinks, that the publicity has played its part in making them think twice.
I have to add, though, that it’s a measure of how liberal even those who think they are thoroughly “traditional” Catholics have become, because I’ve been astonished at the fact that there are those Catholics who think doctor does know best and the parents should be quiet and do as they are told. I do, of course, paraphrase, but the fact is, those who just do not comprehend how anyone would wish to keep a disabled/terminally ill child alive, just find it easier to squash their consciences, I guess, by taking the line that the experts must know best.
I have a cousin in the north of Ireland – a young mother – who has a son who is completely disabled, in a wheelchair, has been ill since birth, and needs absolutely everything to be done for him. She loves him to bits and would tear limb from limb – she once told me – anyone who questioned her son’s right to life and the love of his family.
It’s beyond the grasp of most people – but it’s sad to see Catholics who have been infected with the disposable culture, applying it to human life – that is, “unproductive” (of goods and services) human life.
I am just wondering if the confusion in Catholics about this situation is due to the teaching of the Church that nobody needs to go to extraordinary lengths to save a life or keep someone alive. As far as I know, that is the teaching of the Church.
Would this case have been an issue in the days before we had such life support machines?
I am not denying the parents’ right – I’m horrified that the doctors are denying the parents’ right to decide on their own child’s health care and future, but I’m wondering if, ethically and morally, there is any obligation to keep Charlie on his life support machine? I’m thinking of, say another situation where the parents felt they would not be able to cope – would it be a sin for them to agree to switch off the life support?
As a former Great Ormond Street paediatric nurse I find myself very conflicted on this question of such a very sick baby. My albeit some time ago, experience of the doctors there was of people with great compassion and concern for the children in their care, I doubt if that has changed. I hope not. Parents were always much involved in the decisions regarding treatment for their children but it is of course very difficult for them to be at all objective as the staff must be. In this case we have a severely brain damaged infant with a progressive disease. As far as I understand it, any intervention might perhaps halt the deterioration or maybe minimally improve his symptoms but not much more than that. I know that life is sacred but in the not so distant past this child would have died long ago if not for medical intervention, of a fairly intrusive kind beyond simple hydration and nourishment.
“Thou shalt not kill but need not strive officiously to keep alive” has always seemed a wise maxim to me. Suppose this child does survive, and then fast forward the clock say 15 years. There will no longer be a sweet infant in a cot but a twisted immobile adolescent with increasing care problems to avoid pneumonia, pressure sores etc. I am not saying that such a life would be worthless, of course not, but what a life! To a Christian, letting this baby go peacefully to be with God, the natural outcome, would not seem such a bad decision surely? Yes parents are the guardians of their children but they do not own them and the best outcome for the child must take precedence. Is death such a terrible alternative?
No doubt some will,say that I am advocating euthanasia. Not at all. That is entirely different. Here we are letting a very sad situation go to a natural conclusion.
“Thou shalt not kill but need not strive officiously to keep alive”
I think Fidelis and you make an important point.
I don’t think the issue is about the life support being switched off. My understanding is that the issue is the doctors refusing the accept the parents’ wishes to try the experimental treatment offered in America. Since there is no cost to the NHS, it worries me that the State has taken over from the parents and decided the baby must die, without giving him the chance of a cure or improved life. Your description of a disabled adolescent saddens me because there are such people and they are loved by their families. Although you say, and others with similar views say, that you don’t think their lives are worthless, the reality is that our society does see such lives as worthless. When you speak to the parents or carers of seriously disabled people they say that these disabled people bring a joy that is indescribable. Not all say that, of course, I’ve read of parents who regretted having a disabled child, but I’m mentioning this side of things only to show that there is another view of disablement.
I must say you surprised me by saying ” Yes parents are the guardians of their children but they do not own them.”
I’d say if anyone “owns” a child, it IS the parents – not the State or any of its agents, such as doctors.
Lily, Fidelis, et al,
It is certainly true that there is no moral obligation to go to extraordinary lengths to keep Charlie (or anyone else) alive.
However, in this case, that is not the issue.
The issue is one of parental rights. Who has the right to make decisions for Charlie: his parents or the State or any agents of the State?
Had these doctors had their way, Charlie would be dead. Yet – as reported in the news today – there are now several doctors who have signed their names to a letter saying that the experimental treatment may well improve Charlie’s chances of a good life. There is an example (described on the news this morning) of a child whose diagnosis was equally as hopeless as Charlie’s is claimed to be, yet is now much improved and can even play, described as being able to sit upright on a bike.
As Charlie’s mother pointed out during a TV interview broadcast on the news this morning, there is no cure for Diabetes but people can live normal lives with it, because of the treatment given. All they are asking for Charlie is the opportunity to see if this treatment can work for him, in the same way. Who could possibly object to giving the boy a chance?
So, while no-one is required to “strive officiously to keep alive” that is not what is being asked by the parents. We DO have a duty to do all in our power to save lives, without going to extraordinary lengths, but extraordinary lengths, it seems to me, means once all treatment and whatever other means are available (in some cases, surgery – not here, obviously) have been exhausted. The experimental treatment on offer now, and recommended by several doctors, does not constitute going to extraordinary lengths, but merely exhausting all possible means of saving this little boy’s life.
I wonder how these doctors will feel a bit down the line, if the treatment does work and Charlie is able to live a happy and relatively active life, as is the case in the child mentioned on the news this morning, to which I have briefly referred above? Left to these doctors, Charlie will be denied this chance. It seems to be to be a clear case of Great Ormond Street Hospital Vs Parental Rights
Dear Madame Editor,
I hesitated in posting this, but hope you like it:
For Baby Charlie, heir to the kingdom of heaven:
God save our precious Charles,
Long live our in-fant Charles!
God save infant Charles!
Send him victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to live among us:
God save infant Charles!
O Lord our God arise,
Scatter his enemies,
And make them fall:
Confound their politics,
Frustrate their knavish tricks,
On Thee our hopes we fix:
God save infant Charles.
Thy choicest gifts in store,
On him be pleased to pour;
Long may he live:
May he defy evil laws,
And ever give us cause,
To sing with heart and voice,
God save infant Charles!
For the historical record: We expropriated the words and music once before:
That’s a lovely idea, to make a special anthem for Charlie Gard. Very kind!
I visited the links – very interesting indeed. I hadn’t realised that tune, used as the national anthem in the UK, was also used in America.
We learn a lot more than merely what’s going on in the Vatican on this blog, don’t we?!
I’m glad you like it.
Btw, I posted this on the ABC News website thread re Baby Charlie and it was removed:
XXIX. NO Freeman shall be taken or imprisoned, or be disseised of his Freehold, or Liberties, or free Customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or any other wise destroyed; nor will We not pass upon him, nor condemn him, but by lawful judgment of his Peers, or by the Law of the land. We will sell to no man, we will not deny or defer to any man either Justice or Right.
Magna Carta (and according to Wikipedia, one of the three clauses still part of English law)
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…
Declaration of Independence, Wikipedia
O Mary, conceived without sin, Patroness of the United States of America, pray for us who have recourse to Thee and for Baby Charlie!
I wonder exactly what they found so offensive in this post that it would be removed from the ABC News website.
I don’t know the ABC website, but I remember reading that there was no publicity for the Charlie Gard case in the USA media until President Trump spoke out. Then they went to work.
Could be that they don’t agree with the sentiments, that Charlie’s is not a life worth living (he is unlikely to become an entrepreneur or a film star) and that, therefore, all reminders of a whole different way of looking at life outside of the culture of death, is to be expunged from their website, and thus their consciences. Who knows?
To answer your question: Yes. Between the Fatima Center, the Remnant, CT and other blogs, I’ve received an education that I never would have under ordinary circumstances.
Please share the anthem with pro-life people in the UK defending Baby Charlie. Thank you!
My use of the word “own” in this context is perhaps misguided but do still hold that ownership in the sense of having a possession is not the parental position. As a parent I see my now adult children as gifts from God for whose care and well being I was responsible until they came of age. But I never felt I owned them as such. Can’t think of a better way to put what I am trying to say here!
I asked a young mother of four for her opinion on thoughts on parents not “owning” their children, asking how she would explain the relationship. I asked if she thought she “owned” her children.
She replied: “Well, I make the decisions for them”.
So, while it may be arguable to say that parents “own” their child as they own their home or car, it IS the parents who make the decisions about everything for their offspring – and no agent of the State has the right to make any decisions over the heads of the parents.
We can see this by virtue of the fact that – as far as I know this is still the case – parents must sign a consent form before any doctor or nurse can administer medical care to a child. Personally, I wouldn’t be surprised if this rule has now been ditched, as it has long been effectively ditched by doctors who prescribe contraceptive pills and devices for underage girls. I presume, though, that technically it is still in place.
The parents of Charlie Gard express their concern about the usurpation of this parental right to make decisions for their child in this interview with Victoria Derbyshire on BBC TV on 1st June: the video embedded in the report is short and well worth watching.
So what about the, thankfully rare, cases when parents want to deny their child life saving blood transfusions for religious reasons? Or want to withdraw from conventional treatment to consult herbalists or magic doctors? Do their rights as parents hold then? if they do in fact “own” the child by what right would the state or doctors overrule such parents? Or indeed do you think they should?
I repeat that it is very hard for parents to be objective and to make decisions that are truly in the best interests of the child.
Also, in my experience, I would say that many doctors have a problem with allowing patients to die, to the extent that they will often continue with aggressive medication or intervention when it may well be better to allow things to progress naturally. I know my doctor son feels strongly that sometimes it is wiser and kinder to stop treatment rather than submit patients and their families to prolonged medication.
None of us have the clinical information about this little one and we cannot make informed comments on this case based on media reports. We should just pray for the best outcome for the child and for strength for his poor parents.
Somewhere on this blog someone d scribed little Charlie as ” lying in a cold clinical hospital with uncaring doctors where no one wants him around” . That is so unjust and plain wrong. I do not for one moment think the parents in this case would agree with such a statement either. I suggest the writer visits GOS and she would be ashamed.
I’m sorry you think I was being “unjust and wrong” by saying that Charlie was “lying in a cold clinical hospital with uncaring doctors where no one wants him around” but that is how I see it, since they refused even to allow the baby home to die. How uncaring is that? Also, but for the publicity, they would have closed off the life support, despite the obvious deep pain of the parents. I’m sorry if you see my comment as unjust but I think the injustice here is to the parents, and of course, Charlie himself who is being denied a chance to live.
I’ve been reading about another baby with the same condition and his parents are glad that he’s not British or he would be dead. I hope the High Court judge reads this before he makes his decision on whether Charlie should live or die.
As has been pointed out hospitals turn to courts when parents refuse children treatment, and those same courts, with those same judges, support the hospital. Likewise, it is the same doctors or seek permission from the Courts to treat children against their parents will.
I ask again why would people who had not seen Charlie, or his records, take him on as a patient other than they want a live patient to test their experimental treatment on, and then reap the profits, and the publicity, if it works, and then be able to say “well of course, we tried”, if it didn’t? That smacks of child abuse to me.
The parents have not refused treatment. The very opposite is true. They are seeking treatment but the UK courts won’t let them take the child to the US to have the treatment, now that the doctors here say they cannot do any more for Charlie.
I’m always surprised when someone thinks the State has more say over a child’s welfare than a parent. The idea that the State knows what is best for a child, more than the parents, is beyond belief. I don’t know if you are a parent, but IMHO, it’s a very strange parent who thinks that way.
Regarding child abuse – if the State made half the effort to follow up and prevent further child abuse in the cases known to them, as they’ve taken with stopping Charle Gard’s parents taking him for specialised treatment to the US that might save his life, I can think of a list of children who would still be alive.
I have not said these parents have refused treatment, nor has anyone else, but others, and I, have said that when parents DO refuse treatment those same hospitals/doctors turn to the same courts you are condemning. If you cannot see the State sometimes HAS to intervene on both sides then it is you that has the problem.
I am saying subjecting someone to treatment by ill informed Doctors, using and unproven treatment, against the evidence of those who KNOW the patients, and Courts, who have received evidence, could be child abuse.
I seriously doubt the US Doctors are acting solely from a humanitarian standpoint. They want a Human Guinea Pig.
As for the Republican Politicians who have partially passed a law, is it possible they are up for election soon, and they want the votes of pro-lifers.
Poor Charlie is to be possibly sacrificed abroad, after prolonged suffering, and to test an experimental treatment, which may bring fame and profits, and aided by politicians who wants votes in a tight election?
Partly because loving parents lack objectivity, and are being railroaded by people with a vested interest, contrary to expert advice, and the judgement of the Courts?
I agree that sometimes doctors and courts are obliged to intervene for the welfare of a child, for example, parents who are Jehovas Witnesses may refuse life saving treatment for their child. This would be a genuine reason for State interference. However, such cases are rare. It’s kind of like when the SNP government used the neccesary occasional intervention of the State in genuine child abuses cases as an excuse to make every Scottish child a ward of State until age 18, thereby robbing all parents of their primary parental rights. I’m sure you can see the perversion of justice in this.
I do not therefore agree with your assessment about Charlie Gard, nor indeed do I share your view that an American specialist only wants to use Charlie as a human Guinea Pig. There is nothing to suggest that this doctor is anything other than a professional specialist with Charlie’s best interests at heart.
If doubt is to be cast on the motives of medical professionals in this disgraceful saga then it must be on those in England who appear to be determined to ensure State permission to withdraw life support from that wee boy.
Even the smallest glimmer of hope is worth a shot when faced with a drastic alternative like death, so why are they fighting it tooth and nail through the courts. There is evidence, even from specialists in Rome, that the treatment being suggested for Charlie could make a difference, yet these English doctors, and the English law makers, are firmly opposed to trying. Why? Is it because a measure of success in this case will show our medical system to be somewhat inadqequate? I don’t know. All I do know is that in this case absolutely everyone should be on the side of trying this last hope before accepting death as inevitable.
The parents are trying to save their child’s life by all and any means while the doctors want to let him die. In such a scenario the parents always have the right to make the decision for life. No human authority can take that God-given right from them.
The doctors and courts in this country have overstepped their authority. Every free citizen in the land should be up in arms over such an abuse of authority or it could be their child next. The doctors and courts are not infallible, they need to be told where to get off when they get too invasive into family life.
You can’t have in both ways: if you agree with a Court decision it can intervene and if you don’t they can’t.
There is no proof whatsoever that the US Doctors are acting in the best interests of Charlie. They intervened with no direct knowledge, or contact, with the child to promote an untested treatment.
How can an unproven treatment, with not one jot of empirical evidence to support it, be specialised treatment. It is nonsense for anyone to claim it is.
How do you know there is no empirical evidence to support the treatment being suggested for Charlie. As far as I’m aware the evidence is being presented to the Supreme Court. I don’t know what that evidence is and I suggest you don’t know either, so let’s not be too hasty in our judgments.
They admit on the record it has not been tested properly.
Rubbish. There has already been a successful case, treated by the same US doctor – see below:
“THE dad of a six-year-old boy treated by the same US doctor offering help to dying Charlie Gard said his son would be dead if he were British.”
Watch the video clip there to see this father tell the liberal Good Morning Britain doctor that he is 100% wrong.
Medically the two cases may not be comparable. Good Morning Britain, and an emotional US Dad interviewed to hype up the emotion, are not a medical response to the specific condition of Charlie Gard.
The Dad interviewed to hype up the emotion? Are you serious? Did you actually read the report -e.g. this bit:
“His son Arturito was diagnosed with a similar mitochondrial depletion syndrome to Charlie and was the first person in the United States to receive the experimental and pioneering nucleoside therapy.
Six years later, the brave lad can move his hands, fingers, feet and arms and is a “strong and happy boy” after previously being told he had just two months to live.
Doctors don’t always get it right. That’s a fact. They obviously got it wrong in the case of Arturito and I guess they are fighting the case because they don’t want to risk being proved wrong in the case of Charlie Gard.
I’m very suspicious of people like yourself who seem keen to let this boy die, instead of being keen to allow his parents to try the experimental treatment. There is nothing to lose, and that is why I think Pope John Paul II’s warning of a “culture of death” is what we are witnessing here.
There can be no good reason to refuse the parents’ right to take their child out of that hospital and to the USA for the treatment. It’s not costing the NHS a penny, will save them money, in fact, and end the court case. What on earth is there to lose?
Not properly tested is not the same as not tested at all. That could just mean that it hasn’t undergone the usual 10-year, multiple thousand people tests that are usually done with such treatments. Some of them take far too long to become available. I’m guessing that the results of whatever tests they have conducted have given them enough confidence to try out the treament in an otherwise hopeless case. I think that’s worth a a shot to save an infant’s life, don’t you?
“Medically the two cases may not be comparable. Good Morning Britain, and an emotional US Dad interviewed to hype up the emotion, are not a medical response to the specific condition of Charlie Gard.”
Your deification of the British medical profession and its supposed infallibility is blurring your judgment. It seems to have robbed you of compassion and hope. your arguments are now becomming irrational. You know no more about Charlie Gard’s medical condition than the rest of us, but at least we, like his parents, are keen to exhaust every possibility before pronouncing the death sentence.
Sadly we will never know, as Editor notes, but you should re-read your own preferred quote. It speaks of the US child having a SIMILAR condition, and, as far, as I know “similar” is not “the same condition”.
Two people with the same generic medical condition can have a completely different prognosis.
Further, all the reports today even emphasise it is an experimental treatment.
As to whether or not I live in subservience to the Medical Profession, as Athanasius suggests, the answer is no: more than one independent specialist, who unlike the US Doctor who had never seen Charlie or his medical records, and The Highest Court in the UK, and in Strasbourg, agreed with GOSH, and the numerous independent specialists.
(I have been abroad, and in fact I am still abroad, and so I have not access to this blog on a regular basis due to work commitments.)
You have nitpicked what you want to believe right through this discussion so I am not inclined to answer anything in your comment today.
Your side won. The anti-Charlie Gard camp won. I hope you enjoy your “victory”.
It can and must work both ways. If a child’s life is at risk the State and medical profession have the right to intervene to protect life. Sadly, in the case of Charlie Gard, the State and medical profession is intervening to end life. That’s when the parents have the primary right and duty to tell the State and the medical profession to back off. It’s their baby, not the State’s and not the medical profession’s. If they feel there is still hope for their son in the U.S. then that’s their call, no one else’s.
Some very important doctors in America and Italy have said that there’s a chance this new treatment could work for that wee boy, yet you seem as determined as the courts and doctors in this country to rubbish the testimonies of these medical people simply because they’re not British stamped. Believe me when I say that our British system in many respects is less trustworthy than its foreign counterparts in the life saving treatment and opinion department.
You may recall that not many years ago a mother and father had to steal their child from a British hospital and flee like a fugitives to another country to get life saving treatment he was been denied here. It was a big story in the news at the time, the Brittish authoriites finally having them arrested in Spain. Thanks to public pressure, though, the child was taken to Germany (I believe) where he received and responded well to treatment. In Britain he would have been allowed to die under doctors orders.
It’s a pity, in a way, that you chose the example of parents who refuse to allow their children to have a blood transfusion, in light of the scandal of contaminated blood in the NHS hitting the news today. In fact, I once spoke with a mother of ten who told me that she had refused blood after the birth of one of her children because the doctor could not guarantee that it was “clean” – and this at a time when homosexuals were campaigning to have their blood accepted by the Blood Transfusion (Donations) Service. However, I take your example (presumably you’re thinking of Jehovah’s Witnesses) in the spirit in which it is intended, and hope to answer it to your satisfaction.
The principle of the sanctity of human life is the issue in the case of parents refusing what might in normal circumstances be regarded as a necessary treatment or cure, such as refusing (clean) blood which is, more likely than not, going to save that child’s life, and thus, this case is quite different from the case of Charlie Gard.
Charlie Gard’s parents are seeking treatment to give him the chance to live – they are honouring the central principle of the sanctity of human life – whereas the doctors seek to end his life. Clearly, in this case, the parents’ desire is to improve the child’s life and keep him alive, and is, thus, not comparable to the JW parents whose aim is not to displease a God whom they believe prohibits ingesting blood.
The parent who, for reasons rooted in a mis-reading of Sacred Scripture, refuse to allow doctors to treat their child, is misguided and – if unable to be persuaded – that may well be a case where the courts are rightly invoked.
Obviously, parental rights are not absolute, and it is a serious concern to see the State interfering more and more in family life (in Scotland we have the scandalous Named Person Scheme to prove it) but, clearly, there will be occasions when an agency of the State may have to act in the best interests of a child. The case of Charlie Gard is manifestly not one such case.
Indeed, here’s an interesting analysis in the Catholic Herald, showing just where we are heading with this State Parent mentality.
What opinion do these “compassionate” doctors have with regards to aborting a healthy child?
Surely this situation with wee Charlie will have made at least a few women think twice before getting rid of their child now. Even if he saves only one it will all have been worth it.
This is a very good interview by Piers Morgan with a doctor
What is happening in this country is that the government is usurping the rights of parents to say what is and is not good for their children. The parents of little Charlie, and they alone, have the right and duty to determine what is best for their child. No doctor, politician or judge has any business interfering with this God-given right. This is police State stuff. That wee boy could have been in the U.S. months ago had it not been for these interfering people pretending to have some kind of right over the life and/or death of Charlie. What really disgusts me is when they put on the pretend care and sympathy voice while they seek leave to withdraw his life support. Hypocrisy at its worst!
I sincerely hope these parents finally get their parental rights given back to them and that their wee boy can head off to the U.S. for treatment. At the very least it will gives his parents some hope.
Whether we “own” our children or not nobody, government or other, has the right to usurp a parent’s right to make decisions for his child. It smacks of a police state situation to me.
Can we pray for Charlie Gard today as there is an important meeting with the doctors and the American and Vatican doctor, with the mother.
Click here to read a very clear article on the subject of parental rights in the Charlie Gard case, from the SSPX / Bishop Fellay.
Thank you, Madame Editor, for the link.
Vox Cantoris was wondering “Where’s the Queen?” I’m wondering the same thing. Could HM the Queen intervene to save Charlie?
With all due respect to the Queen, I’m afraid she would be more likely to speak out in defence of animal rights than an innocent baby’s rights or parental rights.
The royalists among us will jump to her defence because, constitutionally, she is not supposed to speak out on “political issues” – which seems to be an umbrella that takes in morals as well. She tends to keep her head down, always avoiding controversy, and thus is praised to the skies for her “skill” in being a dignified figure-head. Well, it takes all sorts. I wonder how, then, it is possible to reconcile the Christian imperative to witness to the truth while avoiding controversy. Didn’t Our Lord say that the world would hate us as it hated Him – yet the Queen, like this Pope, is loved to bits by our secular, unbelieving world. Her “dignified silence” has permitted all the immorality that we regularly discuss here, to pass into law, signed off by her royal self. It’s very sad.
I see that the Judge in the Charlie Gard case is refusing to allow the baby to be taken to the US, despite the family now having been granted permanent residency status. I sincerely hope I’m proven wrong, but it seems to me that the UK doctors and courts are determined to kill this baby. What do they have to lose (except “face”) if they agree to allowing him to travel to the US for the experimental treatment? In fact, the US doctor has offered to have the treatment given here. It’s an outrage that they are so hell-bent on killing this child that they won’t accept that it is a good thing to allow him the benefit of the trial treatment.
I need to check this out, but it has always been the case that parents have to sign a consent form when their children are to undergo medical treatment. I think that form needs to be amended to emphasise that this is a restricted permission and that the parents may remove their child at any time. This case is an outrage.
Dear Madame Editor,
I totally agree that it’s an outrage. Remember this? (Probably not. We’re both too young. 😊) If anyone needs mercy, it’s Charlie.
Yes, the Charlie Gard case is an outrage of enormous proportions indeed.
In this BBC report, a day old now, we read that some parents of other children in the Great Ormond Street Hospital have complained about the protesters outside. Such parents are the quintessential “useful idiots” who don’t seem to realise that this might yet be their children held hostage by these anything-but-caring doctors in that same hospital.
If they really cared, they would be glad to offload the responsibility onto the US doctor and the parents. They would not keep fighting in the courts to kill him, which, calling a spade a spade, is precisely what they are doing.
And this reckless spending of NHS money on unnecessary court actions against loving parents, when we’re told the NHS is creaking at the seams and can’t hold out much longer, is obscene.
I consider these doctors to be despicable human beings. I do NOT buy the “caring” and “Charlie’s best interests” baloney. They care only about winning this case for the purpose of saving face.
This report from Lifenews just proves the bad spirit that is driving these doctors
I do think this case is actually causing some parents to wake up and be more vigilant now. I know parents who certainly wouldn’t agree to any child of theirs being taken into a hospital without some guarantee that their parental rights were not going to be taken from them, and that their child would not be held prisoner.
The Amendment doesn’t, yet, have the force of law, and has anyone considered whether the US Doctors, and scientists, rather than acting out of human concern, and scientists, want a Human Guinea Pig for an unproved treatment from which they might then profit or fame? Is Charlie Gard worth more than that?
Everybody knows better than Charlie’s parents. It’s just unbelievable. I think it’s obvious who has the highest regard for Charlie’s “worth” – his parents, and definitely not the GOSH doctors.
Why are you so ready to attribute bad motives to the US doctors, and good motives to the UK doctors?
British people are so deferential to professionals, it’s not true. They forget about the Manchester doctor who killed over 200 patients and then went on to kill himself in jail. Doctors are not infallible and these GOSH doctors are a disgrace.
Countless specialists, and courts, made a judgement on medical evidence, and the US made a judgement without even seeing Charlie or his medical records?
You’ve missed the real point of this debate, which is that no doctor or court should ever be permitted to trump the primacy of parents in cases such as this. The baby belongs to the parents, not the doctors and not the courts. These may advise, but that’s the limit.
If the parents of Charlie had been accorded their parental right to decide at the beginning of this saga then maybe that wee boy would not have deteriorated to the point where all hope was lost. The delay of going through courts wasted precious time and may ultimately have deprived him of that tiny hope. This should never have happened and must never be permitted to happen again, no matter how clever the liberal rhetoric.
Dear Madame Editor,
“I consider these doctors to be despicable human beings. I do NOT buy the “caring” and “Charlie’s best interests” baloney. They care only about winning this case for the purpose of saving face.”
Well said! You are extremely charitable in calling them “doctors”. What I’d like to call them can’t be posted on this or any blog. All the money spent on arguing about this could have paid for Charlie’s trip to the U.S. and back and still have money left over. (And England used to be called the Dowry of Mary. Sigh…)
Exactly! All the money spent in court could have paid for the baby’s trip to the US etc. I couldn’t agree more.
Sorry but I think this blog is getting carried away now. We do not have the full facts of this case or access to the medical records. We only know what is reported in the media and we should be well aware that the media rarely presents the full truth. Several judges have had access to the facts and have sadly so far come to the same conclusion as the GOSH doctors. To accuse these doctors of wanting to kill this child to save face is appalling in my opinion. Yesterday the lawyer said that the latest scan results made for sad reading. One might assume that there is probably little brain activity. I don’t know.
From a position of ignorance I would support the parents wish to take the child home to die and there are certainly precedents for such a measure to happen. In this case I imagine it would be very difficult to move the child with out causing further suffering and a real possibility that he could die in transit. Would the parents prefer that to nursing him in their arms while he died in the hospital? I don’t know. I am not there and neither is anyone else on this blog who now even want to blame the Queen for not intervening! This is what beggars my belief.
The fact that other parents of very sick children find the protests outside GOSH upsetting is entirely understandable. They KNOW how hard the medical and nursing staff there work to care for the children there and to see them labelled as would be killers would upset anyone who knows that hospital.
So let us instead pray for little Charlie, his parents and everyone involved that the right decisions will be taken and let’s stop jumping on the bandwagon of populist uneducated opinion.
I completely disagree with you on this. I’ve just been watching the news and heard the statement from GOSH taking the high moral ground because of the public outcry and protesters outside the hospital. People (especially British people) don’t protest easily or for no reason.
As for the medical records – the mother has publicly and flatly contradicted the claims of the doctors. For example, they say the boy is blind, she has seen him watching a video. Also, it was an outrage that the parents had not been shown the scan that the doctors referred to in court.
I don’t share your trust in doctors or in judges. Both groups have made huge mistakes in the past, people imprisoned for crimes they didn’t commit and patients misdiagnosed and other things.
If they were of goodwill, why didn’t they allow the baby to go home to die as the parents asked in the beginning? The fact is, they had no idea of the publicity to come and they were running rings round the parents, thinking they were going to get away with it.
You have a high opinion of the professionals but not so much confidence in the parents, yet Connie Yates has come through as an intelligent woman as well as a loving mother.
I don’t see anyone blaming the Queen. An American blogger asked if the Queen would help and this was answered in a way that shows her constitutional position, but nobody mentioned that the royals do go to visit people after accidents and tragedies, so it would have been nice if one of them could have comforted Charlie’s parents, but that’s not a criticism, just an observation. For all I know, a member of the royals may have written to the parents to express kind regards, I don’t know. I just don’t think it’s fair to allege that anyone on this blog, which I think is always very fair, “blamed the Queen”. That’s not actually factually true.
I can see why you would not like the word “kill” and maybe editor was wrong to use that word about the doctors, but it is a fact that the doctors want this baby to die, so whatever words you use, the end result is going to be the same, unless, against all the odds, the judge allows the baby to go to the US or the US doctor to apply the treatment here. That’s been offered as well, so there is really no justifiable reason for GOSH to refuse that 10% or more chance for Charlie’s life.
BTW, I don’t consider myself to be following “uneducated populist opinion” just because I don’t know everything that is in the baby’s file. I do have the parents’ word for it that they would not be pursuing this if their baby was better off dying, and they will have access to all the facts. I’m sorry, I know you don’t agree, but I’m more inclined to trust the parents than the GOSH doctors. With respect, I am surprised that you are not more concerned about this patent stripping of parental rights than you are about defending these doctors.
I do agree with you that we should pray for Charlie. I definitely agree with that.
Whilst we essentially disagree on this case, I have to admit that you are right to criticise my language in my recent comment today.
I should not have used the word “kill” in this context and I should certainly not have described the doctors as “despicable human beings” – that was really unconscionable of me, and I withdraw both remarks unreservedly.
Now for some coffee and what is left of that humble pie!
Editor, thank you for your very prompt withdrawal of your previous comments. This is such an emotive case that it is understandable when feelings run high.
Josephine, I do care very much about these parents and their rights. I honestly do not know what would be the right decision here and would not like to be the judge who has to decide. But as I said in an earlier comment, it is nigh on impossible for the parents to take an objective view. They must be completely exhausted and possibly unable to think clearly any more. I done know. Let’s just pray for them all.
Not at all – I want to thank YOU for highlighting the error of my ways on this; I’d written that previous post at the usual top speed and then went off and forgot about it. Reading your criticism, I realised immediately that I was in the wrong, and, since it happens so rarely 😀 I wanted to put it right asap. Sincere gratitude to you.
And yes, let’s pray especially for this intention over the weekend – for great graces for all of those involved in this decision. Let’s ask Our Lady, who has a mother’s heart, and who loves little Charlie even more than his own mother loves him, to guide the medical and legal staff, and to keep the parents calm – perhaps pray the litany of Our Lady’s Seven Sorrows to that end. Some of Our Lady’s titles in the litany of the Seven Sorrows, are particularly apposite in this case.
Now, I’ve still not had that coffee and humble pie, so I’m off!
Thank You for being the voice of reason on this topic.
Some of the same people basing their opinions on this are happy to talk about “Fake News” on other topics when its suits them. Either they trust the media or they don’t, and most here, I think, don’t.
The only time The Queen speaks her own, uncensored, words are in her Christmas Message, and that message is usually quite simple, and yet profound. Constitutionally she cannot, and does not, enter into matters of public debate, but in her weekly meeting with The Prime Minister it is quite likely she speaks about issues based on her evident Christian Faith.
It is very wrong to publicly criticise her, in any way, for not doing something that the. albeit unwritten, Constitution says she cannot do.
If Prince Charles become King you might even come to like, and admire, Pope Francis and conclude the Pope was rather quiet, and conservative, on ecology and other issues.
God bless Our Queen.
The King of Belgium stepped down temporarily a few years ago, rather than sign abortion into law.
We are not in Belguim, and the Belgian Constitution has no bearing in the UK..
More’s the pity, because then we wouldn’t have a raft of evil legislation which has turned morality on its head and turned this into a godless country.
IMHO, though, the Belgian king should have abdicated altogether, rather than rule over a land where babies were legally murdered in the womb. I don’t think stepping aside for that one vote absolves him from guilt at all. He still has blood on his hands the same as anybody who could make a difference and yet meekly stands by to allow evil to have its way.
“We are not in Belguim, and the Belgian Constitution has no bearing in the UK..”
Tragically, you’re right. It seems the Commandments of God don’t figure here either any more.
It grieves me to say it but Britain has returned to its pagan past, lost to all the societal decency, modesty and morality that once made it great. It’s Modern leaders think themselves progressive champions of human rights, yet the new laws they’re framing are really very old practices from the country’s shameful pre-Christian past.
Blind guides! They have simply reverted back to the hedonistic culture of a former barbaric age, like the dog returning to its own vomit, as Our Lord foretold of those who turn away from Him. now like so many other once-Christian nations, Britain is heading down the toilet pan very quickly.
Her Majesty, with respect to her, cannot claim to be truly Christian when she chooses to rubber stamp immoral laws that clearly contradict the Divine Law. The martyrs were forced to give up a lot more than a royal throne for their fidelity to Christ. One cannot serve two masters, God and the world.
I’m also very disappointed in Prince Charles. I gave him credit for greater nowse than to fall for the environmentalist baloney. Demonstrates once again that human intelligence is not the same thing as divine wisdom.
God save our Queen and the royal family!
If HRH Prince Charles was born today with the disease of Baby Charlie, you can bet your bottom pound that he would be the first in line to get that experimental treatment.
Well, the State won. The parents have withdrawn their application to take Charlie to the US because time has run out – now we will never know if the experimental treatment would have worked. Click here to read more.
Parents’ groups (if there is any such thing) should now campaign vigorously for a change in the law, so that placing a child in hospital and signing a consent form for treatment, does not mean giving a blanket approval for any and every eventually, and perhaps effectively mean kissing your child goodbye.
Editor and Margaret Mary,
There are no “winners” in this sad case. No one can or should rejoice at the outcome for their “side”. We shall never know if earlier intervention with the experimental US treatment would have made a difference. However it has brought to the fore the very real issue of parental rights and duties.and when all the furore has died down there should be a serious debate about it.
Thankfully this baby’s ill ness is incredibly rare and so too are situations in which parents and doctors find themselves so deeply at odds. The amount of antagonism towards the medical profession on this blog has surprised me. Of course they are fallible and some are arrogant. But my experience, as patient, colleague and parent of doctors is of people giving a huge amount for their patients in a poorly funded, understaffed NHS. And I think that Charlie’s parents would for the most part feel the same way.
“We shall never know if earlier intervention with the experimental US treatment would have made a difference”
And that is what would keep me awake at night for the rest of my life, were I one of those GOSH doctors. “Antagonism toward the medical profession”? I can only speak for myself and I have to say that, acknowledging that there are, of course, good and caring individual doctors/nurses etc. I do NOT trust the medical profession, as a “profession”. I know parents of small children who are nervous of visiting the GP or A & E if a child falls or otherwise hurts him/herself, in case they are suspected of abuse. That’s just one example of many that I could give, where I find myself saying “Well, I see your point…” where I would prefer to say “Don’t be silly… You can trust the medics.” Sorry, those days are gone.
As for your belief that such “situations where parents and doctors find themselves so deeply at odds are incredibly rare” – I’m not so sure. Many parents would be in shock and/or be (too) trusting of the doctors to object robustly or question their decisions too deeply in such life and death situations. We heard about this case, and we heard about the other case (Ashya King) where the parents had to effectively steal their child from the hospital and go on the run because they were similarly refused the chance of a treatment which, now, no doubt as a result of the publicity that case generated, IS available in the UK, but that doesn’t mean there are not other cases of which we never hear.
I hope that you are right about the increased awareness now of the need to look carefully at parental rights – it is certainly to be welcomed that the GOSH statement remarked to the effect that they would look closely to see what they can learn from Charlie’s case. Let’s hope that top of the list is a recognition that they must not ride roughshod over parents; they had nothing whatsoever to lose by bowing to the parents’ wishes to take him to the US months ago, to try the experimental treatment. Which brings me to your final point, already touched upon above but which I would like to treat in a little more detail…
You express surprise at “the amount of antagonism towards the medical profession on this blog” citing your own experience as a nurse and parent of doctors, to explain this surprise.
I am very surprised at your surprise. Having conversed with a number of doctors, registrars, consultants and nurses, over my 29 years (!) on this earth, I am aware that there are many very good medical staff (my own GP is wonderful, as I’m sure, is also true of your offspring) but I am also aware that the fact of having trained as medics does not exempt them from having imbibed the worldly spirit; I once heard a consultant surgeon express the view that “you only have to look at them to see that Down’s Syndrome people are not humans.” The discussion was contextualised, need I say it, in a mixture of arguments about abortion and starving a newborn Down’s baby to death, the latter being in the news at the time. 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.
The very fact that, as you point out, the NHS is poorly funded and understaffed, begs the question, again, as to why the GOSH chose to fight this battle against Charlie’s parents. I have to admit, with regret, this case has got me wondering, for the very first time in my entire life, whether we would, after all, be better moving to a system of private health provision. I say that presuming that if the parents were customers of the hospital, as opposed to patients, they would have had no problem removing the child to another hospital of their choice. If that IS the case, and the situations would have been avoided, faced by both Charlie Gard’s parents, and the Ashya King family, where those parents were facing criminal charges for going on the run with their child, then I would re-consider my defence of the NHS. Big time.
Ditto lawyers. Notice, only one lawyer was captioned “pro-life lawyer” on the news this past two days – and she is from the United States of America.
So, where are all the UK Catholic doctors and lawyers?
Dear Madame Editor,
Please post when baby Charlie leaves this earth. Thank you.
Will do, Margaret – won’t be long, now.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!
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!
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.
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.
STATEMENT FROM CONNIE YATES
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.
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.
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.
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.
BRAVO!!! Three cheers for Lily!!! 👏 👏 👏
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
“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.
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.
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?!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
The parents you cite are I assume lawyers, and familiar with every Court Case in The US pertaining to such matters?
How did you know that? WOW!
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?
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.
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