Please keep little Charlie and his parents in your prayers…
(via The Hill)
President Trump on Monday offered to help a critically ill British child who has become a flashpoint in the United Kingdom debate over whether the government should have a say in individual matters pertaining to life and death.
Trump tweeted his support for Charlie Gard, a 10-month-old infant on life support due to complications from a mitochondrial disease. The controversy around Gard has engulfed the Vatican, which infuriated some on the right by not immediately siding entirely with the parents, who want to seek experimental medication in the U.S. or bring their child home to die.
“If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the U.K. and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so,” Trump tweeted.
Gard’s case has created an international uproar and sparked debate over whether the government should be able to mandate “death with dignity” over a family’s wishes to seek out experimental medication for their sick child.
Gard was born with a rare genetic condition and cannot move or breathe on his own.
His parents want to bring him to the U.S. to seek experimental medication or take him home so they can spend their final hours together.
The Great Ormond Street Hospital where he is staying has argued the child would suffer harm because there is no prospect he will recover. The British Supreme Court is backing the hospital, opening the door for doctors there to withdraw life support for the child.
Gard’s parents will also not be allowed to take him home to die.
White House director of media affairs Helen Ferre said members of the administration had spoken to the Gard family in calls set up by the British government.
“The president is just trying to be helpful if at all possible,” Ferre said, adding that Trump had not spoken directly with the family and does not want to pressure them in any way.
Citing legal issues, the White House declined to say whether a U.S. hospital or doctor had become involved in the discussions to provide care for the child.
The Vatican has weighed in, saying “we must do what advances the health of the patient, but we must also accept the limits of medicine” and “avoid aggressive medical procedures that are disproportionate to any expected results or excessively burdensome to the patient or the family.”
“Likewise, the wishes of parents must be heard and respected, but they too must be helped to understand the unique difficulty of their situation and not be left to face their painful decisions alone,” Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia wrote.
“If the relationship between doctor and patient (or parents as in Charlie’s case) is interfered with, everything becomes more difficult and legal action becomes a last resort, with the accompanying risk of ideological or political manipulation, which is always to be avoided, or of media sensationalism, which can be sadly superficial.”
That statement infuriated conservatives, who are questioning why the Vatican did not prioritize the life of the child over the decision of the state.
Pope Francis on Sunday weighed in, saying the parents should be allowed to “accompany and treat their child until the end.”
“The Holy Father is following with affection and emotion the situation of little Charlie Gard and expresses his closeness to his parents,” a spokesman for the pope said. “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.”