Baby to Be Taken Off Life Support Against Parents' Wishes After Law Blocks Move to Vatican Hospital

Playing Terminally Ill Baby Not Allowed to Leave UK Hospital Despite Plea From Pope

Terminally ill 11-month-old Charlie Gard cannot be moved to a Vatican hospital from Britain in an effort to keep the boy on life support, a decision ruling that has left his parents heartbroken.

The fate of the British baby boy, who has a rare genetic disease called mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome, has been in limbo as parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard battled in court to have him released so they can explore other options for Charlie's care.

Read: Parents Accused of Beating Daughter Are Allowed Last Visit Before She's Taken Off Life Support

Yates and Gard want the boy to be transferred to the United States for experimental treatment, which is against the recommendation of the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where he is currently being treated.

Charlie, who can’t eat, breathe, or move without assistance, has been receiving specialist treatment at the London hospital since October.

The hospital said in a statement that they believe it’s best to take the baby off life support and allow him to “die with dignity.”

“GOSH explored various treatment options, including nucleoside therapy, the experimental treatment offered by the U.S. hospital. GOSH concluded that the experimental treatment, which is not designed to be curative, would not improve Charlie’s quality of life," the hospital said in a statement on their website.

The European Court of Human Rights ultimately ruled last week that the hospital can take Charlie off life support even after Charlie’s parents filed several appeals. 

Doctors have said that Charlie’s brain is “extensively damaged at a cellular level,” and experimental treatment would not reverse the brain damage that has already occurred

Vatican’s Bambino Gesu Children’s Hospital in Rome had offered to allow Charlie’s parents to keep him on life support at their facility until they decided what to do.

Mariella Enoc, president of the Vatican's Bambino Gesu Children's Hospital, said Great Ormond Street Hospital was very kind and thanked her for her interest, but confirmed that for legal reasons, transferring Charlie to their care would be impossible, CNN reported.

Read: Parents Accused of Beating Daughter Are Allowed Last Visit Before She's Taken Off Life Support

Life support was expected to be discontinued last Friday June 30 at Great Ormond Street Hospital, the network reported. It is not clear why the scheduled date was not upheld.

Charlie's parents' fight has garnered national attention and even Pope Francis spoke out on Sunday in support of the Gard family.

Read: Daughter Arranges Rushed Wedding in Hospital Room to Include Dad on Life Support

"The Holy Father is following with affection and emotion the situation of little Charlie Gard and expresses his closeness to his parents. He is praying for them, in the hope that their desire to accompany and care for their own child until the end will be respected," the director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke, said in a statement.

President Donald Trump also tweeted his support on Monday.

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