BY Ian Dunn | July 28 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print

13-CHARLIE-GARD-FIGHT

Questions for the media and state over Charlie Gard case

Barring a miracle, by the time you read this, Charlie Gard will be dead.

Barring a miracle, by the time you read this, Charlie Gard will be dead. His parents’ decision to drop their court case, pushing for the right to take him for experimental treatment in America mean that people around the world will mourn this child this weekend. It is a case of profound complexity, but his parents suffering has a shattering simplicity. To lose a child is a tragedy, to do so in such an agonising, hope-bleeding way is unbearable.

On the one hand it is a case where certainty is impossible. Medical advancements have made it increasingly difficult to tell when hope is gone. Without medical expertise, without first-hand knowledge, it is almost impossible to know when that point has been reached. Indeed, even with those things it is not always clear.

But however thin the hope, his parents had the right to try and grasp it. They believe that if they’d been allowed to try and take Charlie for experimental treatments in America he would be alive now. They may be wrong, but they had the right to try. The fact they were denied that is what has outraged so many. As we have seen here in Scotland with the named person legislation, many, many parents feel that the state priorities are different from their own—and they fear running afoul of them.

The media firestorm around the case in the last few weeks should also concern us. The fire hose attention on a young couple under huge strain, and the endless proliferation of self-righteous certainties are not new, but they seem particularly trite in this case.

Further, as is so often with the British press, the coverage of the Gard’s carried a sneering, snobbish undertone. If the Gard’s had been more middle-class, had sharper elbows, been more like the doctors who decided the fate of their sons, they may well have been allowed to take their son to America. The wealth of the parents determines the fate of the child to still unfathomable degrees.

But all that is in the past. Today all we can do is pray for this poor child and his parents. And hope that one day, they will be reunited in Heaven.

 

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