Congress Gives Charlie Gard Permanent US Residence

by Anita Carey  •  •  July 19, 2017   

Last-minute measure passed to protect gravely ill baby

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WASHINGTON ( - Lawmakers have passed an amendment granting Charlie Gard and his parents, Connie Yates and Chris Gard, permanent residence in the United States.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Nebraska Rep. Jeff Fortenberry announced the passage of the measure for the gravely ill, 11-month old baby and his British parents. The judge for the case has stated that it would be illegal for Charlie to leave the country without his permission. Other legal sources agree that the U.K. court rulings prevent his parents from traveling with the child, regardless of where he claims residence.

Just Monday, Dr. Michio Hirano, a Columbia University neurologist and professor, traveled to London to examine the baby. Great Ormond Street Hospital granted Hirano full privileges to access all medical records. A new MRI scan and an electroencephalogram (EEG) were done on the boy.

Results of the tests and evaluations have not been released and more tests are scheduled. "Charlie will be having some more tests shortly," his mother Connie Yates confirmed.

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Earlier this month, both President Trump and Pope Francis tweeted their support, allowing Charlie to remain on life support. Trump tweeted, "If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so."

The Pope's tweet proclaimed, "To defend human life, above all when it is wounded by illness, is a duty of love that God entrusts to all." He also said he is "following with affection and sadness the case of little Charlie Gard and expresses his closeness to his parents. For this, he prays that their wish to accompany and treat their child until the end is not neglected."

Influenced by Pope Francis' message, Mariella Enoc, president of the Bambino Gesu Pediatric Hospital in Rome, requested a transfer of the boy from Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. In an interview with the press, Enoc told reporters that the London hospital was prevented from requesting the transfer for "legal reasons."

Vatican Secretary of State Cdl. Pietro Parolin has also committed to helping transfer Charlie to the Vatican's pediatric hospital. On the legal hurdles, Cdl. Parolin says, "Overcome these problems? If we can do it, we will do it."

Charlie's parents have been in a four-month legal battle over their rights as parents to determine the type of treatments their son can have. Earlier court rulings have determined that these treatments will not help with Charlie's type of mitochondrial disease and have ordered the removal of his life support. Since the media coverage of the case, other parents — of children that have had the nucleoside therapy Yates and Gard have been requesting — have begun speaking out.

Yates has said she has seven experts who have claimed up to a 10 percent chance that Charlie would benefit from treatment. The attorney for the parents, Grant Armstrong, says "the evidence "renders unsafe" the court's previous finding of futility with respect to Charlie's improvement chances."


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