American doctor to travel to United Kingdom in Charlie Gard case

Rebecca Barbier
Julho 17, 2017

His meeting with specialists is the latest stage of a court battle over the best course of action for Charlie, who suffers from a rare genetic condition and has brain damage.

Dr Hirano's research focuses on mitochondrial diseases and genetic myopathies and he has treated others with conditions similar to Charlie's.

Charlie has infantile onset encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome.

While he has not seen the baby in person, he said that the tests on Charlie's brain show "disorganisation of brain activity and not major structural brain damage".

Dr. Michio Hirano of Columbia University will talk with doctors from Great Ormond Street Hospital and the child's mother, Connie Yates, on Monday and Tuesday.

After a series of hearings and appeals in several courts, the European Court of Human Rights decided on June 30 not to intervene in the case, which upheld a British Supreme Court decision that the hospital could discontinue life support to Charlie and he could not be transferred.

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Hirano, who has been providing evidence to the High Court via video link, suggested that now, there is clinical data that were not available in April, and he thought the therapy was "worth trying".

Dr Hirano said that he believed there was now a better chance than there was when he previously gave evidence three months earlier. Hirano added that keeping Charlie on a ventilator would not cause him harm because he did not seem to be in any significant pain.

The parents have fought in court for permission to take the child to the United States for treatment.

The Great Ormond Street Hospital told the court their position remains unchanged, that every medical treatment option had already been explored, and that any experimental treatment would be unjustified. An individual, who will remain anonymous by court order, will chair the meetings.

According to the barrister presenting to the court on Charlie's behalf, Charlie's court-appointed guardian saw him last week and is concerned about the deterioration in his physical condition.

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