- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 29, 2017

The mother and father of a terminally ill infant are speaking out against doctors and judges who, ignoring the pleas of the parents, have decided to take their child off of life support.

In an emotional video released on Thursday, British couple Chris Gard and Connie Yates said their “parental rights have been stripped away.”

“He’s still fighting over there, believe me,” Mr. Gard said. “He’s a little fighter, he’s a trooper, and he’s a soldier. He will fight to the very end, and he’s still fighting. But we’re not allowed to fight for him anymore.”

Mr. Gard said doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London, where Charlie Gard is being treated, have decided to take the 10-month-old off of life support on Friday.

“Some of our family and friends can’t come,” Mr. Gard said in the video. “They can’t come before tomorrow. The last time they saw Charlie will be the last time they ever see him.”

Ms. Yates said the couple “literally begged” doctors in a meeting Thursday “to give us this weekend.”

“And he’s still so stable,” Ms. Yates said. “That’s what’s so hard. He’s so stable.”

The couple also said doctors refused their last request to take their son home to die, even after they were promised that option months ago.

“We want to give him a bath at home,” Mr. Gard said. “We want to sleep in a bed with him. We want to put him in a cot he’s never slept in. But we are now being denied that.”

Charlie suffers from a rare disorder called mitochondrial depletion syndrome (MDDS). He is unable to breathe on his own and has brain damage.

His parents raised more than £1.4 million ($1.6 million) on a GoFundMe page to pay for an experimental treatment in the U.S., but High Court Justice Nicholas Francis ruled in April that it’s in Charlie’s “best interests” to “die with dignity.”

The couple also offered to pay for the transportation costs to bring their son home, Ms. Yates said. But the hospital denied that request, also.

“They said they couldn’t get transports to take us home, so we’ve offered to pay for that privately, with a private team,” she said, “and they’ve said that’s not an option.”

The European Court of Human Rights upheld the lower court ruling on Tuesday, exhausting the couple’s legal avenues for appeal.

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