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Clinician says Charlie Gard’s life was turned into soap opera

August 5, 2017 10:21 AM
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Clinician says Charlie Gard’s life was turned into soap opera

A clinician who treated Charlie Gard has said the baby’s last days were turned into a soap opera with him being kept alive for people such as Donald Trump and the Pope.

Writing anonymously for The Guardian, the medic explained she had been part of the team of 200 nurses, doctors and consultants who cared for the terminally ill boy in intensive care.

She said: “Like all of the staff who work in our unit, I loved this child to bits. But it got to the point where there was nothing more we could do.”

The clinician said they did not want to lose Charlie, but that it was their job and “moral obligation” to speak up and say when they think “enough is enough”.

The health worker wrote: “We gave him drugs and fluids, we did everything that we could, even though we thought he should be allowed to slip away in his parents’ arms, peacefully, loved.

“We didn’t do this for Charlie. We didn’t even do it for his mum and dad.

“Recently, we did this for Donald Trump, the Pope and Boris Johnson, who suddenly knew more about mitochondrial diseases than our expert consultants.”

Charlie died in a hospice on July 28, just days before his first birthday.

His parents – Chris Gard and Connie Yates – have spoken about the final moments they spent with their son in an interview published in the Daily Mail.

Ms Yates told the newspaper: “Chris and I were both crying. We laid on the bed with Charlie between us, each of us holding a hand. We were both telling him we were there, we loved him, how proud we were of him.

“A staff member disconnected the ventilator so that the tube was still in Charlie’s nose, but it wasn’t working.

“Charlie opened his eyes and looked at us one last time and closed them before he passed away. We were warned it might take five or six minutes for him to die. But it took 12 minutes until his heart stopped beating.”

The 11-month-old was at the centre of a legal battle between his parents, who wanted to take their son to the US for experimental treatment, and Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) that attracted worldwide attention.

Charlie, who was born on August 4 last year, had a form of mitochondrial disease, a condition that causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage.

His parents said they wanted to take their son across the Atlantic for nucleoside bypass therapy, but specialists at GOSH in London, where Charlie was being cared for, said the treatment was experimental and would not help.

“Over the last few weeks, parts of the media and some members of the public turned a poorly baby’s life into a soap opera, into a hot legal issue being discussed around the world,” said the medic.

She added that GOSH staff had been called “evil” by “keyboard warriors” and that friends had asked why they were trying to kill Charlie.

The case had also made other parents at the hospital “nervous” about whether the right thing was being done for their children, the health worker explained.


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