Baby Charlie’s parents in new ‘die at home’ battle

Chris Gard and Connie Yates with their son Charlie Gard. Picture: PA
Chris Gard and Connie Yates with their son Charlie Gard. Picture: PA

Charlie Gard’s parents are embroiled in a new High Court fight with doctors over the ­circumstances of the terminally-ill baby’s death.

The little boy’s mother, ­Connie Yates, was back in court on Tuesday a day after she and partner Chris Gard abandoned legal action over treatment for the baby.

A lawyer representing the couple told a judge that the couple wanted to take Charlie home to die.

But lawyers representing the hospital said there were ­practical problems and the couple had put forward no clear plan.

Mr Justice Francis was told the hospital had suggested a “hospice option”. He said the dispute cried out for settlement.

Barrister Grant Armstrong, who leads the couple’s legal team, suggested to Mr Justice Francis that hospital bosses were placing obstacles in Charlie’s parents’ way.

But barrister Katie Gollop QC, who leads Great Ormond Street’s legal team, said practicalities were of the “greatest importance” but Charlie’s parents had proposed no clear plan.

Ms Gollop said bosses wanted to fulfil Charlie’s parents’ “last desire”.

But she said doctors were keen to avoid hazards or mishaps and wanted to ensure Charlie was safe.

She said providing intensive care to Charlie outside a hospital setting was not simple.

Bosses had suggested mediation but Charlie’s parents had not wished to use the services of a mediator, she said.

Mr Gard and Ms Yates, who are aged in their 30s and 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.

Doctors at Great Ormond Street said the therapy would not help. They said life-support treatment should stop.

Mr Justice Francis ruled in favour of Great Ormond Street in April and said Charlie should be allowed to die with dignity.

Charlie’s parents ­subsequently failed to overturn his ruling in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in London.

They also failed to persuade European Court of Human Rights judges to intervene.

But the couple had recently returned to court, saying they had new evidence and they asked Mr Justice Francis to change his mind.

The couple abandoned their legal fight on Monday after concluding that Charlie had deteriorated to the ‘’point of no return’’.

A Vatican hospital said experimental therapy “could have been an opportunity” to help Charlie but it was too late.

Mr Justice Francis is overseeing the latest dispute at a public hearing in the Family Division of the High Court.

He suggested that the hearing could be staged behind closed doors.

But Ms Yates said she wanted the dispute aired in public.

Mr Gard was not at the hearing.