In a few short weeks, "Charlie Gard" has become a household name. Now, after months of legal battles over the 11-month-old's life, he will die. And the only questions remaining are where, and when.
Several weeks ago, Charlie was handed a virtual death sentence by a European court when a judge denied his parents' request to bring him to the United States to undergo an experimental treatment for his degenerative disease, which causes severe brain damage. Though the legal battle was still ongoing, Charlie's parents dropped their case this week after learning that Charlie's brain damage is now too extensive to treat.
Initially, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, Charlie's parents, requested in yet another hearing that they be allowed to take Charlie home for a few days before his ventilator be shut off, allowing him to pass away in his own bed.
In response, Katie Gollop, an attorney for Great Ormond Street Hospital, argued, "[B]ecause of the difficulties of providing invasive ventilation at home and the potential for problems, that would not be possible."
Charlie's parents then asked that Charlie at least be allowed to be moved to a hospice for a week, to allow them time to say goodbye.
Gollop responded that Charlie would need round the clock care that GOSH would not be able to provide. The hospital suggested that Charlie be moved to hospice and his ventilator be removed within a few hours.
Connie Yates published a Facebook post urging someone to step forward. One doctor has already responded, offering to care for Charlie during the remainder of his short life. However, according to Charlie's court-appointed guardian, Victoria Butler--Cole, the physician is not experienced in end-of-life care.
According to the judge, Charlie's parents have until 12 p.m. on Thursday to find a team who will voluntarily provide a week's worth of care for their son. A few nurses from GOSH have stepped forward to assist. However, if Charlie's parents can't assemble the right team in time, then Charlie will be moved to hospice, and his ventilator will be removed.