Charlie Gard Case: One person’s ‘right’ can easily be somebody else’s wrong

News Comment

Doctors can withdraw life support from a sick baby with a rare genetic condition against his parents’ wishes, a High Court judge has ruled.

Specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital said eight-month-old Charlie Gard has irreversible brain damage and should be moved to palliative care.

His parents had wanted to take him to the US for a treatment trial.

Their solicitor, Laura Hobey-Hamsher, said they could not understand why Mr Justice Francis had not “at least given Charlie the chance of treatment”.

In his judgement, Mr Justice Francis said he made the decision with the “heaviest of hearts” but with “complete conviction” that it was in the best interests of the child.

This is definitely a heartbreaking case where parents have had to accept a judgement from a court to inform them what is best for their child. In this case to stop the support for their child to stay alive.

However there is a fundamental question which society needs to ask and this is, how have they decided what is right and wrong in such cases? Should doctors continue to exert efforts and allow other treatments for a child who has serious health problems? Should other treatments be explored even if the chances of them working are low?

Difficult questions indeed – which when left to human beings, are subject to their own opinions and angles of judging what is the right course of action.

The mind’s evaluation of right and wrong can be affected by the environment in which human beings live and it even becomes disparate and differs with the succession of ages. So if the evaluation of good and evil were left to the mind, the action would be righteous for one group of people and disgusting for others.

One person’s ‘right’ can easily be somebody else’s wrong. So it is virtually impossible for human beings to be confident that their judgement in cases like this are correct. It gives no solace to the person/s who is the subject matter.

Human beings incorrectly gave themselves the authority to judge upon the action as right or wrong. It is only a Creator who has the sole right to decide what is right and wrong and provide people with a ruling and judgement which provides a peace of mind. As human beings were created by a Creator who knows them better than themselves and the situation they are experiencing.

Surely this needs to be part of the equation in heart wrenching cases like this.

فَإِنْ تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِنْ كُنْتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ

“If you have a dispute about something, refer it back to Allah and the Messenger, if you have iman in Allah and the Last Day.”

[An-Nisaa: 59]

Charlie Gard case: Doctors can withdraw baby’s life support

Doctors can withdraw life support from a sick baby with a rare genetic condition against his parents’ wishes, a High Court judge has ruled.

Specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital said eight-month-old Charlie Gard has irreversible brain damage and should be moved to palliative care.

His parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard, from London, had wanted to take him to the US for a treatment trial.

They said they were “devastated” by the decision but intended to appeal.

Their solicitor, Laura Hobey-Hamsher, said they could not understand why Mr Justice Francis had not “at least given Charlie the chance of treatment”.

She said the couple would take further advice on challenging the ruling once their legal team had studied it.

They have three weeks to lodge an appeal.

‘Brave and dignified’

In his judgement, Mr Justice Francis said he made the decision with the “heaviest of hearts” but with “complete conviction” that it was in the best interests of the child.

He paid tribute to Charlie’s parents for “their brave and dignified campaign on his behalf” and “their absolute dedication to their wonderful boy, from the day that he was born”.

He added: “I know this is the darkest day for Charlie’s parents…my heart goes out to them.

“I only hope in time they will come to accept it is in Charlie’s best interests to let him slip away peacefully, and not put him through more pain and suffering.”

Charlie, who was born on 4 August, has a disorder called mitochondrial depletion syndrome, a rare disease which affects the genetic building blocks that give energy to cells.

It causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage.

His parents, of Bedfont, west London, had told the Family Division of the High Court they wanted to give their baby “one chance of life”.

In their bid to fund the treatment abroad they set up a crowdfunding campaign which has raised in excess of £1.25m from more than 80,000 donors.

A GoFundMe spokesman said it will “be speaking privately to the family” about what would happen to the money raised.

Mr Gard was “shaking and visibly very upset” as he waited for the judgment, BBC News correspondent Helena Lee, who was in court, said.

When the judge ruled the treatment could be withdrawn, he shouted “no” and both he and Ms Yates broke down in tears.

During five days of evidence, Mr Justice Francis heard competing arguments over what should happen to Charlie.

Debra Powell QC, representing hospital bosses, had told the court a number of “world-renowned” experts agreed the child should not be given long-term life support as his “quality of life” is “so poor”.

Barrister Victoria Butler-Cole, who was appointed to represent the eight month old, said proposed treatment in the US was “purely experimental” and continuing his life support would only “prolong the process of dying”.

But the parents’ barrister, Sophia Roper, argued Charlie would not suffer significant harm if he was taken to the United States and should be given a chance to improve.

She also claimed his parents’ wishes should carry “great weight”.

BBC

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