Judge to decide where Charlie Gard should spend his last days

Charlie Gard's parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard arrive at court. Picture: PA
Charlie Gard's parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard arrive at court. Picture: PA
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Terminally-ill baby Charlie Gard is unlikely to be allowed to spend his final days at home with his parents, a High Court judge has said.

Mr Justice Francis said he would make a decision about where the 11-month-old boy should spend the remainder of his life today.

Doctors caring for Charlie at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London said they wanted to fulfil the “last desire” of his parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates.

But they said there were practical difficulties in providing the intensive care Charlie needs outside a hospital, and the judge said the chances of him being able to spend his final days at home were “small”.

Charlie’s parents have become embroiled in a fight with doctors over the circumstances of his death, a day after abandoning attempts to persuade a judge to let him travel to America for experimental treatment.

Mr Justice Francis presided over the dispute at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London yesterday, and the hearing is scheduled to resume at 2pm today.

The judge said the dispute cried out for settlement.

But he said if a solution could not be agreed, he would decide today.

Barrister Victoria Butler-Cole, who represents a guardian appointed by the judge to represent Charlie’s interests, supported Great Ormond Street’s position.

Ms Butler-Cole said Charlie would need a “full paediatric intensive care team” – including four to six nurses – if he was to spend days at home receiving life-support treatment. She said the idea was not realistic.

Ms Butler-Cole suggested that Charlie might be taken home if life-support treatment was ended shortly after his arrival.

But she said he could not remain at home on intensive care for any length of time.

Mr Justice Francis said he would give Charlie’s parents another day to offer a solution which would allow Charlie to receive life-support treatment at home for an extended period.

“It looks like the chances are small,” he said yesterday.

“But given the gravity of the situation we are in and the need to be human, I will allow another day.

“I will make a final decision tomorrow.”

Mr Gard and Ms Yates, who come from Bedfont, west London, had asked Mr Justice Francis to rule that Charlie should be allowed to undergo a therapy trial in New York.