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Hospital Roadblocks Charlie Gard’s Parents’ Last Wish, Mom Demands Public Dispute

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Joshua Gill Religion Reporter

Charlie Gard’s hospital opposed his parents’ last wish to take him home to die Tuesday, but Gard’s mom wants the dispute aired publicly.

The Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH), where Gard has been since October, argued against Chris Gard and Connie Yates’ request to take their son home for a few days to die in peace, according to Mirror. GOSH recommended in-hospital hospice and said that they must consider “practicalities” and the “best interests” of Gard, as taking him home would present difficulties, according to the Daily Mail.

Justice Francis, presiding over the Tuesday hearing that will decide where Gard dies, suggested the hearing be held behind closed doors, but Yates demanded the dispute be aired to the public.

“GOSH is aware that there are other practical problems one being that the ventilator does not fit through the front door,” a hospital official told the court. “There are then stairs to negotiate and corners to turn. The physical lay-out of the route between the ambulance on the pavement and their home would require Charlie to be taken off the ventilator and provided with only ‘hand-bagging’ until he was inside.”

Barrister Grant Armstrong, legal representation for Gard’s parents, argued on their behalf for their final wish to take Gard home, and said they are burdened “with the difficulties which the hospital is placing in the way.”

“The parents’ last wish is to take Charlie home for a few days of tranquility outside the hospital,” Armstrong said. “The parents had hoped that Great Ormond Street would work with them.”

“The parents’ primary position is that Charlie’s final days of palliative care… should take place at the family home,” Armstrong added.

The court initially ruled that Gard be taken off life support on June 30, and ruled in favor of the hospital’s claim that he be kept in the hospital. Yates and Chris Gard responded that they had been robbed of their parental rights.

“We promised our little boy every single day that we would take him home,” Yates said.

“We want to give him a bath at home, put him in a cot which he has never slept in,” Chris Gard said. “Our parental rights have been stripped away. We can’t even take our own son home to die. We’ve been denied that. Our final wish, if it all went against us, was to take our little boy home to die, and we are not allowed,” Gard added.

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Out of court discussions are currently underway between Gard’s parents and the hospital.

The head of GOSH’s legal team, Katie Gollop, said as of 11:01 a.m. EST that while the hospital wanted to fulfill Gard’s parents’ wish, they could not see a way around the practical issues of transporting Gard to their house, according to Mirror.

“The care plan must be safe, it must spare Charlie all pain and protect his dignity,” Gollop said. “At the same time, the plan must honor his parents’ wishes about two matters in particular, namely the time and place of his passing. The key obstacle and one which the hospital cannot see a way around is the reality of invasive ventilation that Charlie requires.”

Gollop said the hospital could not provide service to Gard at his parents’ home, but that GOSH had found a hospice service that would serve Gard’s family to the utmost of their ability.

“It is in Charlie’s best interests, and everybody’s, that the risk of a precipitate, distressing or disordered death is removed so that he may be reassured of a peaceful and dignified passing,” Gollop said.

Update: Justice Francis will make his final decision Wednesday. The hearing will begin at 10:00 a.m. EST. Gard’s court appointed guardian and legal representative, Victoria Butler-Cole, argued that it was impossible to use a small ventilator at Gard’s parents’ home, and that outside hospice care was not possible.  Francis remarked that, to his understanding, the only apparent options for Gard are either hospice or death at the hospital.

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