The story of poor Charlie Gard has taken another twist as it’s been revealed that the American doctor who’s offered to treat the poorly tot will examine him next week.
Michio Hirano, a professor of neurology at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York, will visit Charlie at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where the 11-month-old currently resides.
Giving evidence to the High Court via video link yesterday, Professor Hirano claimed that, using experimental nucleoside therapy, Charlie’s chances of survival could be improved by more than 50 per cent.
The 11-month-old is said to be in the “terminal stages” of a rare condition called mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome.
He is unable to move his arms or legs, and cannot open his eyes. He is only able to breathe with the aid of a ventilator.
Following an application by doctors at Great Ormond Street, in April the High Court ruled that Charlie should be taken off ventilation and given palliative care.
However, the baby’s parents – Connie Yates and Chris Gard, from West London – are challenging the decision, having raised £1.3million to provide him with the experimental therapy.
Having already been knocked back by the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court, they know they have a fight on their hands.
But Connie, 31, and Chris, 33, are desperate to be given the chance to fly their son to America.
“They wish to exhaust all possible options,” said Richard Gordon QC, who is leading the parents’ legal team.
“They don’t want to look back and think, ‘What if?’ This court should not stand in the way of their only remaining hope.”
Mr Justice Francis, who is presiding over the case, has said that a final decision will be made on 25 July.
A lot could depend on the verdict of Professor Hirano – who the judge allowed the media to name for the first time today.
Charlie’s parents, and the rest of the world, await it with bated breath.