On July 28, a mere week before his first birthday, Charlie Gard died.
Charlie suffered from a rare genetic disorder that rendered him unable to breathe on his own or move. As I described in an earlier article about the case, his parents wanted to take him out of Great Ormond Street Hospital (or, GOSH) to another hospital in the States for experimental treatment. The hospital assured them that if they raised the funds, they could.
Perhaps GOSH never expected Connie and Chris to raise over a million dollars. When they did, the hospital refused to release Charlie Gard. They said the treatment had little chance of success and would only cause the baby more suffering.
What ensued was a drawn out legal battle lasting months. At one point, GOSH even tried to prevent a minister from visiting Charlie, citing security concerns, though they did eventually relent. On top of that, an American father came forward to claim that his son, suffering from a less severe form of Charlie’s condition, benefited greatly from the treatment.
Too little, Too late
Things, though, began to look up in July when two hospitals presented new evidence suggesting Charlie Gard could benefit from the treatment. Some of that evidence came from the Bambino Gesu Hospital in Vatican City. Once more, the court deliberated.
GOSH argued that this wasn’t new evidence at all and did all they could to refute claims that Charlie stood a chance at having a life. Interestingly, the woman appointed to act as Charlie’s “guardian” and represent his interests was also the head of a charity that backs “assisted dying”, or euthanasia.
The fact the Court felt Charlie needed a guardian and a voice to represent his interests, when it was his own parents speaking up for him, is ludicrous in itself. That guardian being someone with a severe conflict of interest was salt in the wound.
Everything came to a heartbreaking stop when new scans revealed irreversible deterioration of Charlie’s muscles. This made him untreatable. His parents blamed the hospital and rightly so. GOSH’s refusal to release Charlie cost precious time.
Oh, but it got worse for Charlie Gard
At this point, any sane person would think the media circus could now withdraw. The judge could hang up his robe and go home. The curtain would come down on Chris and Connie spending a last few precious days with their son. But even here, GOSH fought them.
Charlie Gard’s parents wanted to take him home to spend some time with him before removing him from the ventilator. In the States, this is an almost normal action to take. However, GOSH claimed “practical difficulties” and refused—again—to release the baby. Despite nurses volunteering to care for Charlie, the Court decided he would go to hospice.
Charlie’s parents wanted him to remain in hospice for days but even there, GOSH blocked their wishes. In the end, shortly after the transfer, he died. Thankfully, he received baptism beforehand.
Even the simple dignity of dying at home, or for his parents to be with him without the pressure of legal battles weighing on them, was denied. At every turn, lawyers and doctors both told his parents that they had no right to decide anything.
A Disturbing Trend
This isn’t the first time Great Ormond Street Hospital has been thrust into media attention over the care of a child.
In one instance, the father of a disabled girl claimed of doctors lied about blood tests and lost key files.
In 2009, a clinic run by GOSH sent home a 17-month-old boy without noticing he had a broken back. The boy died days later from abuse. The doctor who warned GOSH that the clinic stood in a perilous state was forced out after the incident. She later claimed GOSH offered a large sum of money to buy her silence.
Colleagues who supported the dismissed doctor claimed GOSH harassed and pressured them.
In the UK, there is also a history of parents not being allowed to remove their children from the National Health Service. In one such case, two parents were arrested when they tried to flee the UK to seek an experimental cancer treatment. Unlike with Charlie Gard, these parents won their court case and the experimental treatment ultimately proved successful. Today, the boy lives a normal life, cancer free.
At this moment, a father in Liverpool is fighting to keep his son on life support. The little boy, named Alfie, suffers from an undiagnosed brain disorder that left him in a coma since December. Alfie occasionally opens his eyes, yawns, and sneezes. Despite this, the doctors have warned they may take legal action to remove Alfie from life support.
A Society Based on Eugenics
These disturbing cases all reek of eugenics. Why treat a child who might die anyway? Why allow experimental treatment when it’s easier to let the child die? What’s the point of allowing parents to make decisions when the establishment knows better?
That last question, at first glance, doesn’t sound like eugenics but I argue that it’s a lynchpin of that philosophy. A key step in state-sponsored eugenics is the removal of the rights of the parents. Granted, there are parents whose rights should be removed (e.g., in cases of abuse). However, like in Charlie Gard’s case, if the parents are caring and competent, there’s no reason for a hospital to block their wishes.
When an establishment blocks the wishes of the parents, and a court system upholds that decision, then that government edges closer to forming a society based on eugenics.
The United Kingdom is perilously close to that, with their socialist National Health Service and legal abortions. The Charlie Gard case makes for a dangerous precedent and, possibly, an omen for what’s to come.
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