A hopeful sign in the case of Charlie Gard

July 10, 2017

There's a hopeful sign in the case of Charlie Gard, the British infant whose parents were told by government health officials and a European court that he would be taken off of life support to die, even though they had raised money to take him to America for experimental treatment. The hospital originally said the treatment would do nothing but prolong the child’s pain, but they’ve now asked the court to re-hear the case. They claim to have been told more about the treatment and say they need the court to untie their hands if they are to reverse their decision.

I have a feeling this welcome reversal has less to do with any sudden new medical knowledge (you’d think they would have asked about the treatment before refusing it, since I believe they are doctors, after all) than with the wave of worldwide outrage over their trampling of the parents’ rights and their cold consignment of an innocent baby to death. Charlie’s mom credits the intervention of the Pope and President Trump with helping turn the tide. Let’s hope and pray that the hospital and court do the right thing and let the parents seek the last-ditch treatment for their baby. Maybe it is futile, but it’s their call. Doctors can advise parents on whether to seek such treatments, but it is not their place to make the final decision. And it’s certainly not the place of judges and government health bureaucrats.

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At a time when many Americans are pushing the US to adopt British-style national health care, this should be taken as a chilling warning of what happens when the state takes over medical decisions and budget constraints start impacting whether patients live or die. Proponents of that system scoffed at Sarah Palin’s term (“death panels”), but what’s the difference between that and the widespread policy in Europe that older and seriously ill patients have a “duty to die” to keep from burdening the system with the costs of keeping them alive? The attitude that decisions about our health reside with the state instead of with patients or parents is what seriously needs to die.


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Comments 1-5 of 25

  • Mackie Braden

    07/24/2017 05:45 PM

    Charlie is a sad case from every angle, but still I never read anything about the infant's pain and suffering, only about the parents. Granted, there's not much worse than losing a child, but Charlie was doomed to a brief life under the best of circumstances. He had MDDS, a very rare disorder that was very early onset, at two months.
    There is a treatment in the experimental stage that's had barely a few temporarily positive results. At best, his little life might be prolonged a few months. The baby could not support life alone, he couldn't even swallow. Who knows what Charlie felt?
    I don't mean to sound harsh or too clinical, but we Americans fight accepting the inevitability of death beyond reason it seems to me, no matter what age. We expect doctors to pull rabbits out of every hat, and that's an unreasonable expectation. Fighting to keep this child alive was wearing, and more pathetic by the day.

  • Diane Glenham

    07/12/2017 01:09 AM

    Amen! You are a real man of reasoning in a sea of idiots. Adore you and the work you do for us and our great country. God bless you and yours. Keep up the good work!

  • Susan Meyer

    07/11/2017 09:31 PM

    This child is a veritable political prisoner. I have heard it is not "protocol" for the Royal family to weigh in on matters of this type, but I truly cannot imagine Princess Diana standing by without saying or doing something.

  • F. Donald Parsons

    07/11/2017 09:03 PM

    As long as the profit motive drives health care, whether by insurance companies, medical groups, hospital groups, pharmaceutical corporations, medical equipment manufacturers, etc., there will be calls for "single payer" insurance as a control of SOME sort. Profit from sickness seems ugly. Earning a living? That's reasonable.

  • Phyllis Park

    07/11/2017 04:02 PM

    I completely agree. Praying for favor