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Tuesday 5 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C Charlie Gard
Charlie Gard

European rights court urges UK to keep treating baby with rare condition

More than £1.3 million has been raised online for the treatment, through more than 83,000 donations.

Updated at 8.10pm

THE EUROPEAN COURT of Human Rights has ordered the British government to keep providing a baby with a rare genetic disease with “appropriate” treatment after a London High Court ruled that he should be allowed to die with dignity.

Ten-month-old baby Charlie Gard suffers from a rare genetic condition and has brain damage from which he will not recover.

His parents Chris Gard and Connie Yates have been battling to raise funds and clear legal obstacles to allow him undergo a nucleoside therapy trial in the US.

More than £1.3 million has been raised online for the treatment, through more than 83,000 donations.

However, doctors have concluded that it could cause prolonged suffering.

In April, a UK High Court judge had sided with the doctors and said that his life-support should be switched and he should be allowed to “die with dignity”.

The ruling

Today, the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) said British doctors should continue to provide Charlie “with such treatment and nursing care as may be appropriate to ensure that he suffers the least distress and retains the greatest dignity consistent, insofar as possible, with maintaining life.”

The ECHR said Charlie’s parents had filed a request for an urgent interim measure to stay the London ruling to allow the European Court to examine the request which it said had received “detailed consideration”.

A court statement added that “in the interests of the parties and the proper conduct of the proceedings before it,” it was asking the British government to prolong the application of the interim measure until 19 June, extending its initial demand to continue treatment through to 9 June.

Interim ECHR measures are urgent exceptional measures granted only in cases where there is an imminent risk of irreparable harm.

They are also binding on the British government rather than the hospital treating Charlie.

- With reporting from AFP

Read: Terminally ill baby boy at London hospital must be kept alive until at least Tuesday, court rules

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