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The hospital at the centre of Charlie Gard’s heartbreaking court battle has said “we have tried absolutely everything” to accommodate the parents’ final wishes.
In an emotional and frank statement released on Thursday – as a judge confirmed little Charlie will be taken to a hospice to die – Great Ormond Street Hospital said it has been “a uniquely painful and distressing process for all concerned”.
The hospital said it “deeply regrets” having to take the case to play out in court, after a lengthy battle lasting more than four months.
“Charlie’s parents have tirelessly advocated for what they sincerely believed was right for their son,” the statement read. “And nobody could fault them for doing so.”
“We deeply regret that profound and heartfelt differences between Charlie’s doctors and his parents have had to be played out in court over such a protracted period.
“All of us at Great Ormond Street Hospital get up every morning to care for sick children, not to cause further anguish to devoted parents like Chris and Connie.
“We have tried absolutely everything to accommodate their final wishes and engaged not only with those who volunteered to treat Charlie but experts from across the health service in close consultation with the NHS to make this happen.
“This included exploring the unprecedented step of delivering intensive life support away from a hospital intensive care unit.
“Sadly, as the judge has now ruled, there is simply no way that Charlie, a patient with such severe and complex needs, can spend any significant time outside of an intensive care environment safely.
“The risk of an unplanned and chaotic end to Charlie’s life is an unthinkable outcome for all concerned and would rob his parents of precious last moments with him.”
The hospital said it will arrange for Charlie to be transferred to a specialist children’s hospice, where “remarkable and compassionate staff will support his family at this impossible time”.
The statement read: “This is a very special place who will do all they can to make these last moments as comfortable and peaceful as possible for Charlie and his loved-ones.
“Great Ormond Street Hospital would like to reassure everyone who has followed this heart-breaking story that we always put the best interests of every single one of our patients above all else.
“While we always respect parents’ views, we will never do anything that could cause our patients unnecessary and prolonged suffering.
“The priority of our medical staff has always been Charlie.
“Our doctors and nurses have worked tirelessly and done their utmost for him in the months he has been in our care.
“Every single one of us wishes there could have been a less tragic outcome.
“Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to Chris and Connie, and we hope that their privacy is respected at this devastating time for their family.”
On Thursday, High Court judge Mr Justice Francis approved a plan which will see Charlie Gard “inevitably” die shortly after being moved to a hospice and having life support treatment withdrawn.
The critically ill tot’s parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, today ran out of time to reach an agreement with hospital doctors over their son’s end-of-life Although both parties had agreed Charlie should be taken to a hospice to die, Charlie’s parents failed to agree with Great Ormond Street Hospital medics the details of the care.
The parents wanted a private medical team to care for the baby so they can spend some final days with him. But hospital specialists said it is not in little Charlie’s interests to be taken to a hospice for a long period.
The judge had said that if no plan was agreed by noon on Thursday, the baby will move to a hospice and life-support treatment would end soon after.
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