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Parents of baby Charlie Gard given until Thursday to agree plan for death

The plight of Charlie, who suffers from a rare genetic condition causing progressive brain damage and muscle weakness, has been at the centre of a bitter dispute between his parents and the hospital.

world Updated: Jul 26, 2017 23:04 IST
Reuters, London
Charlie Gard,Baby Charlie Gard,Britain court
Charlie Gard's parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard read a statement at the High Court after a hearing on their baby's future, in London.(Reuters)

A British judge gave the parents of Charlie Gard until noon on Thursday to agree arrangements for his death with the hospital caring for him, failing which he would be transferred to a hospice where his ventilation tube would be removed.

Having taken the decision to let Charlie die, his parents have been making desperate attempts to make an arrangement that would make it possible for them to spend several days with him, away from hospital.

At stake in this final, agonising part of the legal dispute is how long Connie Yates and Chris Gard will have with their son before he dies. The parents had been trying for several days to gain permission to take their son home, but as Wednesday’s court hearing progressed it became clear that would not happen.

A lawyer for Charlie’s court-appointed guardian told the court that no hospice could provide care for intensively ventilated children for a long time.

The parents have been trying to find a doctor willing to oversee a plan that would allow Charlie to be ventilated in a hospice for several days. It was to give them a final chance of making such an arrangement that the judge gave them until noon on Thursday.

“Unless by 12 noon tomorrow the parents and the guardian and the hospital can agree an alternative arrangement, Charlie will be transferred to a hospice and extubated shortly after,” said Nicholas Francis, the judge presiding over the case.

At one point, Yates shouted in court, apparently at Charlie’s guardian: “What if it was your child. I hope you are happy with yourself.” She then left the courtroom in tears.

First Published: Jul 26, 2017 23:04 IST