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Pope expresses ‘closeness’ to parents of Charlie Gard

Pope Francis has spoken out in a show of solidarity with the parents of terminally ill baby Charlie Gard, saying they should be able to ‘accompany and treat their child until the end.’ - By Amanda Connelly

A statement from the Vatican on Sunday said the Pope was following the case and hoped the wishes of the parents would be respected.

Charlie, aged 10 months, was born in England with mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, which causes progressive muscle weakness, brain damage and respiratory or liver failure; it is typically fatal.

Hospital specialists believed he had no chance of survival, but his parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, crowdfunded nearly £1.5 million in four months to finance taking the baby to America for an experimental treatment.

When hospital officials wanted to stop providing life support for the baby they took their case to a London court, and it ruled Charlie should be allowed to ‘die with dignity’, meaning life support could be withdrawn.

That was upheld by an appeals court, and after the nation’s Supreme Court dismissed the parents’ case, Gard and Yates turned to judges in the European court of human rights. That court decided on June 27 that it would not intervene in the case.

The couple were told they could not bring their son home to die, and expected his life support to be switched off on June 30. Doctors then gave them more time with their baby to say goodbye.

“The Holy Father follows with affection and commotion the situation of Charlie Gard, and expresses his closeness to his parents,” Vatican spokesman Greg Burke said.

 

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