Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), the hospital treating Charlie Gard has in the past 24 hours applied for a fresh hearing in the case of Charlie Gard following claims of “new evidence relating to potential treatment for his condition”
This is coming just over a week after the European Court of Human Rights delivered what seems to be the last verdict, handing total control and the decision to GOSH to determine what happens to Charlie, regarding when to turn off his life support.
Great Ormond had objected to an experimental treatment n the United State as they believed it will be futile and will not be in Charlie Gard’s interest, the parents, on the other hand, wants to give Charlie every possible opportunity and refuse to give up hope even when it seems it was over.
The resolve and resilient of the parents have yielded positive results as they have been able to gather global supports, raised over £1.3m and got Pope and even President Trump involved.
Now the hospital has made a U-turn of some sort in light of new evidence of potential treatment, “communicated to them in the last 24 hours by two international hospitals and their researchers”
Great Ormond is taking this step because they claim to believe in common with Charlie’s parents, that it is right to explore this evidence.
Great Ormond Street Hospital is, therefore, giving the High Court the opportunity to objectively assess the claims of fresh evidence.
Our doctors have explored every medical treatment, including experimental nucleoside therapies. Independent medical experts agreed with our clinical team that this treatment would be unjustified
Our view has not changed. We believe it is right to seek the High Court’s view in light of the claimed new evidence. GOSH Press release
In the meantime, Charlie remained ill while the prolonged court cases go on. This is resulting in almost a reputational damage to Great Ormond that relies on charity for a chunk of its revenue as public opinion is heavily tilted in favour of the parents.
Great Ormond will argue that medical decisions are not based on public opinion but on clinical evidence, thus the intervention of the seven clinicians and researchers claiming to have new evidence as to the efficacy of the proposed treatment have seized the initiative from GOSH, even though the treatment is still experimental and has not been tried, not even on a mice which would be the ideal clinical trial process before using it on human, but Charlie’s condition cannot wait for an ideal clinical trial process.
This has thrown up medico-legal and ethical issues on parental responsibilities and the right of the state (the government) and will likely set a precedent if not a change of law on who has the right to decide “what is in the best interest of a patient” who is unable to make the decision for themselves.
It is important to note that the view of GOSH has not changed, they still hold the opinion based on medical examinations done by them, that further nucleoside treatment is not in Charlie’s best interest.
This position has been supported by the courts up to the European Court of Human Right, and according to the statement released, they still believe this is the case.
The question is what is the weight of the new evidence that has not been tried against the existing knowledge?
Even, if it can be proven by the new evidence that such treatment can help a patient with mitochondrial depletion syndrome, the irreversible brain damage that has already been done to Charlie, in particular, has not been addressed, and if “best interest” as to quality of life is the main bone of contention, there is a chance the court will uphold the original ruling because of the “irreversible” brain damage. There is even a chance the parent will appeal it all the way.
These process will only continue to extend Charlie’s stay with GOSH, in this situation, every day lost cannot be regained, and every day that passes without treatment probably reduces the chances of a better outcome. Hence, GOSH is in a lose-lose situation here.
If Charlie dies without GOSH releasing him for treatment, it will be a stain on their name and reputation for standing in the way of the parents and “playing God”, if they eventually release Charlie to go for the treatment and it did not turn out well, it will still come back to GOSH because of all the time wasted and lost that could have been used for treatment, and if the treatment did improve Charlie, GOSH will then look bad and incompetent.
For the parents, this is another opportunity to finally get their wishes and do the best by Charlie.
The case goes to court Monday 10th July.