Connie Yates, the mother of Charlie Gard -- an infant British boy who is facing termination of his life-support in a London hospital -- thanked Pope Francis and President Donald Trump for their support in their continuing legal battle in England to allow their 11-month-old son to stay alive.
On June 27, the European Court of Human Rights handed down a ruling that confirmed an earlier decision by Britain's high court that ruled that the boy should have the plug pulled from his essential life-support. Charlie suffers from a rare genetic disorder that requires constant care, a feeding tube, and respirator. While hospitals in Italy and the US have offered free medical care for the infant, British authorities backed by physicians have refused to release Charlie to to his parents to either die at home or travel abroad for experimental treatment. So far, Charlies's parents have raised nearly $2 million for his care. Presbyterian Hospital in New York City and Columbia University have offered to ship experimental drugs to London in an effort to preserve Charlie's life.
Pope Francis and Trump have both spoken out in support of the parents. Yates told BBC on Monday that the words of the pontiff and president “turned it into an international issue.” Their support, she said, has been the “single biggest factor” in ensuring Gard remains alive. "There are a lot of people who are outraged about what is going on,” Yates told BBC Radio 4’s Today show, according to The Guardian.
Britain’s High Court will hear the case Monday “in light of claims of new evidence” from the Vatican’s children’s hospital. Doctors at the Great Ormond Street Hospital argue further treatment is”unjustified.” Gard’s parents are placing their hopes in experimental treatment in the United States. “There’s nothing to lose, he deserves a chance,” Yates told The Independent.