Charlie Gard to be examined by USA doctor who created experimental treatment

18 July, 2017, 00:41 | Author: Eloise Marshall
  • Charlie Gard has brain damage and cannot see hear move or cry

The hospital was scheduled to take the child off of life support last month after his parents lost an appeal to take him to the U.S. for experimental treatment.

Michio Hirano, a professor of neurology at Columbia University in New York City, arrived at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) Monday, the hospital confirmed to NBC News.

They have been fighting to take him to the United States for treatment.

He further noted that the small number of people with Charlie's rare genetic condition, mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, would make robust clinical trials hard.

His parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, successfully raised money in hopes of bringing their son to the USA for an experimental treatment, but doctors at the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where Charlie has been since October, argued in court that it was not in their patient's best interest. The case attracted global attention after Pope Francis and President Donald Trump weighed in. Hirano recently put the chances of Charlie improving under new experimental treatment at between 10% and 50%.

Doctors at Great Ormond Street argue life support should be withdrawn, saying that Charlie's condition - a form of mitochondrial disease which causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage - would affect his quality of life.

Charlie, 11 months old, has a rare disease, infantile onset encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome.

Charlie's parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, have raised £1.3 million (US$ 1.7 million) to take the baby to the USA for nucleoside therapy.

But the case was reopened earlier this month at England's High Court after two overseas hospitals approached GOSH with possible evidence of alternative treatments that might help Charlie's condition.

While he has not seen the baby in person, he said that the tests on Charlie's brain show "disorganisation of brain activity and not major structural brain damage".

Hirano will assess Charlie, meet his current immediate-care team and other specialists, including a doctor from the Vatican children's hospital.

The findings of the meeting will be reported to Judge Nicholas Francis who is expected to make a final decision on July 25.

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