Breaking News Emails
LONDON — A U.K. judge has allowed the parents of a terminally ill baby to present fresh evidence in their campaign for their son to be allowed to receive experimental treatment.
The case of 11-month-old Charlie Gard has garnered worldwide attention and even drawn comment from President Donald Trump and Pope Francis.
At a hearing at the High Court in London Monday, the child's parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, were given until Wednesday to present new evidence with a hearing set for Thursday.
Breaking News Emails
Judge Nicholas Francis said that “there is not a person alive who would not want to save Charlie," in comments reported by NBC News UK affiliate, ITV News.
"If you bring new evidence to me and I consider that evidence changes the situation ... I will be the first to welcome that outcome," Francis added.
Emotions ran high during the hearing with ITV News also reporting that the child’s father yelled at a barrister representing Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), where his son is being treated, “when are you going to start telling the truth?”
Speaking outside the court later Monday, a spokesperson for the parents said: “Baby Charlie and Charlie’s parents, Connie and Chris, are thankful for the outcome of the hearing in the high court today.”
“Charlie’s parents look forward to new evidence being heard before the High Court this Thursday the 13th of July that will result in Charlie’s parents taking him to either the United States of America or to Italy for groundbreaking treatment.
“Mum and Dad say that if Charlie is still fighting then they are still fighting,” the spokesperson added.
Baby Charlie suffers from a rare genetic condition, an inherited mitochondrial disease generally referred to as MDDS, or mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. As a result, he is unable to move his arms or legs or breathe unaided.
The child’s parents have fought to raise $1.8 million to bring him to the United States for experimental treatment they believe could help.
But British and European courts have so far sided with the hospital's decision that the 11-month-old's life support should end, saying therapy would not help and would cause more suffering.
On Friday, however, GOSH said it had applied for a new court hearing "in light of claims of new evidence relating to potential treatment for his condition."
The evidence came from researchers at the Vatican's children's hospital and another facility outside of Britain, AP reported.
Earlier Monday, Yates told BBC Radio 4 BBC Radio 4 early Monday that her son still has a chance of surviving thanks to the intervention of Trump and the pontiff, who turned their fight “into an international issue.”
When asked if it had made all the difference, Yates said that it had “saved his life so far.”
Trump tweeted last week that “If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so.”
A White House official later stated that members of the Trump administration, but not the president, had spoken to the parents in calls facilitated by the British government.
The official also said the president wants to be helpful without placing undue pressure on the family.
On Sunday, Republican congressmen Brad Wenstrup and Trent Franks called for the child to be given U.S. residency so he can undergo treatment in the U.S..
Meanwhile, the Vatican has said the Pope is following the case "with affection and emotion" and "expresses his own closeness to his parents.”
Yates has said previously that, should the money raised for Charlie not be used on his treatment, it will be offered to support other children with similar genetic disorders.
Also on Sunday, Yates and Gard delivered to doctors at GOSH a petition organized by Washington D.C. based anti-abortion law firm and advocacy group, Americans United for Life. The document had been signed by 370,000 people.