New Twist in Saga of Baby on Life Support

London hospital will ask court to reconsider allowing treatment
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 8, 2017 7:40 AM CDT
London Hospital Shifts Course on Baby Charlie Gard
Photo of Chris Gard and Connie Yates with their son Charlie. They have fought to keep him on life support.   (Family of Charlie Gard via AP)

In the latest turn in the Charlie Gard saga, a London hospital says it will not turn off life support for the brain-damaged baby as it seeks a new court opinion, the New York Times reports. The about-face came Friday after the hospital received "claims of fresh evidence" for an experimental treatment. Two international hospitals approached 11-month-old Charlie's doctors to propose a new therapy "and we believe … it is right to explore this evidence," Great Ormond Street Hospital says. Charlie's parents say an experimental treatment in the US could help the infant, who suffers from a rare genetic disorder with no cure. The London high court that approved unplugging Charlie and forbade his transfer will reconsider the case on Monday, per the BBC. The hospital's decision came even as doctors there still believe the boy has "catastrophic" brain damage and that treatment would be "futile."

Great Ormond did not identify the hospitals, but one in New York City—New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Irving Medical Center—offered to treat the child after his parents' pleas went global. The Vatican and President Trump also pledged support. Charlie's parents pinned their hopes to an unidentified US neurologist who proposed trying nucleoside therapy, which helped a boy with a less severe form of the same disease. It has never been tried in someone with Charlie's form of TK2 syndrome, and even the doctor who pitched it concedes its efficacy in Charlie's case was only "theoretical" and the results unknown, per the Times. "There’s around a 10% chance of this working for Charlie," mom Connie Yates says, without citing evidence. (More Charlie Yates stories.)

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