Charlie Gard's parents face wait with judge to decide on tragic baby's final moments

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The parents of Charlie Gard will be forced to wait to learn if their son will die at home, as they accused Great Ormond Street bosses of placing obstacles in their way.

A High Court judge says he will decide on Wednesday whether terminally-ill Charlie will be able to leave the hospital.

Connie Yates and Chris Gard, from Bedfont, west London, want to take Charlie – who suffers from a rare genetic disease and brain damage – home.

On Tuesday Barrister Grant Armstrong, who represents the couple, said the parents “just wish for a few days of tranquility outside of a hospital setting”.

Charlie Gard’s parents’ statement in full – ‘We are sorry we could not save you’

In a written statement, Mr Armstrong said: “The parents had hoped that Great Ormond Street would work with them.”

He added: “The parents’ primary position is that Charlie’s final days of palliative care… should take place at the family home.

Mr Armstrong said Great Ormond Street doctors thought that moving Charlie to a hospice was the best plan.

But he said the couple felt there was a “brutality” to taking Charlie to a hospice.

He told the judge: “We struggle with the difficulties which the hospital is placing in the way.”

Meanwhile Great Ormond Street doctors told the judge that finalising an end-of-life care plan was the “most delicate and difficult task”.

Katie Gollop QC, who leads Great Ormond Street’s legal team, outlined doctors’ concerns, also in a written statement.

She said Charlie’s best interests had to be balanced against his parents’ needs.

“The care plan must be safe, it must spare Charlie all pain and protect his dignity,” said Ms Gollop.

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The parents want to take Charlie Gard home to spend their final moments with the terminally ill baby (PA)

“At the same time, the plan must honour his parents’ wishes about two matters in particular, namely the time and place of his passing.”

She said an offer of mediation had been “reiterated several times”.

“Charlie’s parents want him to be with them and ventilated at home for several days before receiving palliative care,” she said.

“Above all Great Ormond Street wants to fulfil that last wish.”

Explained: the Charlie Gard case

She added: “The key obstacle and one which the hospital cannot see a way around is the reality of invasive ventilation that Charlie requires.”

Ms Gollop said such invasive ventilation was only provided in a hospital setting.

“Those resources cannot be provided by Great Ormond Street to Charlie at his parents’ home,” she said.

“Great Ormond Street is aware that there are other practical problems, one being that the ventilator does not fit through the front door.”

She added: “Charlie is a child who requires highly specialised treatment. His care cannot be simplified.

“It is in Charlie’s best interests, and everybody’s, that the risk of a precipitate, distressing or disordered death is removed so that he may be reassured of a peaceful and dignified passing.”

Ms Gollop said Great Ormond Street had found an “excellent hospice” which would give Charlie and his parents the space, privacy and protection they needed.

The hearing has been adjourned and will resume at 2pm tomorrow.

It is likely that Mr Justice Francis will then decide whether Charlie will be able to leave Great Ormond Street Hospital and die at home.


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