Earlier this week, Connie Yates and Chris Gard lost their fight to save their baby’s life. In a quick decision, the Human Rights Court of the European Union decided that giving the parents did not have the right to take little Charlie to America where he could receive experimental treatment for his rare mitochondrial disorder. The court decided that Charlie would have to die, and they gave the hospital jurisdiction over when he would be taken off his ventilator.
After the pronouncement, Great Ormond’s Street Hospital, where Charlie has been being treated, had told the media that there was no rush; they would work with the parents to decide when he would be taken off life support. But his parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard are saying that’s not true.
Instead, the hospital has decided the baby will be taken off his ventilator on June 30th—only two days after the decision came down. This happens over the couple’s plea that he be allowed to live through the weekend so that friends and family could have a chance to say goodbye.
The hospital is also denying them their last wish: to take their baby home to die in peace.
In a heartbreaking video posted on Thursday, Connie says, “That was our last wish if it went this way. We’ve promised our little boy every single day that we would take him home because that was a promise we thought we could keep.”
Chris and Connie explain that they had been talking to the hospital about their options for palliative care since November. At the time, they were given three options: let Charlie die in the hospital, hospice, or at home. The couple felt strongly about taking their baby home to die if they lost their fight for experimental treatment, but now they aren’t being given that option. They won’t even let them take him to the hospice. The hospital offered a lack of transport as an excuse for why Charlie can’t go home, but that excuse fell apart after the couple offered to pay for private transport and the hospital still refused.
“They said no to both, so now he has to die in that hospital tomorrow,” says the devastated father.
The hospital isn’t ending Charlie’s care because his condition has worsened. His mother shares that his condition is still stable, so he could continue to live without increased pain. “That’s what’s so hard,” adds Connie.
At the end of the video, the couple is overcome by emotion, as Chris reaches the heart of the matter—why this situation is so wrong and why it has captured so many hearts.
“Our parental rights have been stripped away,” says Chris through his tears. “We can’t even take our own son home to die. We’ve been denied that. Do you not think we have been put through enough?”
Connie adds that the day their son was born was the very best day of their life, and June 30th, 2017 will be the worst day of their lives.
“We know what day our son is going to die, and we don’t get any say in what happens to him,” sobs Chris.
The way Chris and Connie’s parental rights have been stripped away illustrates the problem with socialized medicine. In an opinion piece for The Daily Wire, Ben Shapiro expounds on this issue.
“In the UK, a socialized medicine country where individual needs come secondary to the preservation of the “system,” there is less concern with parental rights.”
He continues, “In the United States, we are so interested in the freedom to obtain care that we insist on releasing a legally brain-dead girl to her mother, so long as her mother wishes to keep her hooked up to a ventilator; in the UK, they are insistent on withdrawing the opportunity for life-saving care because it’s better to kill the child than keep it alive.
While the U.S. is in the midst of an argument about healthcare, Charlie Gard’s case should be a reminder to us of the kind of healthcare we want nothing to do with.
Please keep the family in your prayers while they deal with this tragedy.