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American doctor set to visit Charlie Gard

by Onize Ohikere
Posted 7/17/17, 08:14 am

An American specialist will travel to London this week to examine 11-month-old Charlie Gard and talk with the British doctors treating him. Dr. Michio Hirano, a professor of neurology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, will meet with the doctors and Charlie’s mother during the next two days at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. The visit is the latest stage in the court battle Chris Gard and Connie Yates have waged for months in an attempt to take their critically ill son to the United States for an experimental treatment. Charlie suffers from mitochondrial depletion syndrome, a rare genetic disease that left him unable to breathe unaided. Hirano last week told a British judge his experimental treatment could give Charlie a 56 percent chance of “meaningful improvement.” After examining Charlie, Hirano will present his findings to the U.K. High Court. 

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Onize Ohikere

Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.

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  • OldMike
    Posted: Mon, 07/17/2017 02:42 pm

    An unfeeling State placing a dollars-and-cents value on a human life, probably in the name of "conserving costly healthcare services."

    And removing the power of decision-making from family and others closest to the patient. 

    Remember the fears that Obama-care could include "death-panel" provisions to make treatment decisions based on cost/benefit analysis? And proponents of a vast single healthcare program insisting "Don't be ridiculous, that could NEVER happen!"

    Government control of healthcare decisions--particularly by unelected "experts"--is just one small part of a future under a bureaucracy of social scientists and experts-who-know-what's-best-for-us.  

    IF we fail to pay attention.



  • Hans's picture
    Posted: Wed, 07/19/2017 12:27 pm

    This literally has nothing to do with cost of healthcare. For some reason, American conservatives have decided to make political hay out of a tragedy happening 3000 miles away from them by making this about single payer healthcare instead of focusing on the only complex issue in play--who should make end of life decisions in seemingly futile medical cases--parents or doctors? I am not aware of any serious Christian ethicist who would argue that it is immoral to turn a patient's life support off after ordinary means of medical intervention have been exhausted. This is not, then, a question of an immoral act in itself. It is a question of prerogative for making these difficult decisions. There is much to be said for ensuring that the parents retain decision making power over the care of their children. That is a completely separate issue from the question of who is paying for the treatment, which has not factored into the legal substance of this case at all.

  • OldMike
    Posted: Wed, 07/19/2017 02:29 pm

    Thank you for your reply. But I find 2 issues with your assertions:

    First, it is extremely naive to believe costs do not play a part in life or death decisions by a panel of authorities like the one that has decided Charlie Gard's life support to be removed. It is equally naive to believe that, because costs have not been brought up in the arguments, that costs played no part in the decision making. Arguing cost as a reason for removal of life support would obviously make these doctors appear even more heartless than they already seem, and I'm sure they wish to avoid that. And somehow, Hans, I suspect you are not actually naive enough to believe cost plays no part in these decisions.

    Second, you argue there is nothing immoral in turning off life support after "ordinary means of medical intervention have been exhausted."  The doctors who made the decision went even further, stating "undergoing experimental treatment with no prospects of success would offer no benefit..."

    But it hardly matters whether the treatments sought by Charlie's parents are "ordinary" or "experimental."  If attitudes prevail, that "there is no hope, no need to try," the result would be an end to all medical progress. 

    I'm grateful those who discovered the smallpox and polio vaccines, those working on cures for AIDS, those who are trying to find more effective treatments and even cures for cancer, ALS, Alzheimer's, and many more, refuse to heed those who say "there's no need to try" various experimental treatments.