LONDON — A British court opened a hearing on Thursday to examine possible new evidence in the case of a critically ill 11-month-old baby whose parents want to take him to the United States for experimental treatment.
Charlie Gard, widely known as Baby Charlie, suffers from a rare genetic condition that causes progressive muscle weakness and has left him with brain damage and unable to breathe without a ventilator.
Specialists at London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital had said a therapy proposed by U.S. doctors and the boy’s parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, was experimental and would not help, and that life support for the child should be stopped.
British and European courts had upheld lower court rulings that the infant’s life support should be ended so that he could die with dignity.
After U.S. President Donald Trump and Pope Francis both offered to help the family last week, the hospital on Friday asked Britain’s High Court to re-examine the case of “in light of claims of new evidence relating to potential treatment for his condition.”
Judge Nicholas Francis said at Monday’s preliminary hearing that he needed to be convinced that the medical evidence had changed since he heard the case earlier this year.
In a statement outside court on Thursday via spokesman Alasdair Seton-Marsden,Gard and Yates said they were “continuing to spend every moment working around the clock to save our dear baby Charlie.”
“We’ve raised over 1.3 million pounds and … specialized doctors in the U.S. and Italy have offered groundbreaking treatment to us and are confident they can help Charlie,” the couple said.
“We hope the judge and the courts will finally rule in favor of us seeking treatment elsewhere.”
The judge warned later that he may not be able to give any ruling on Thursday, British media reported.