A hospital operated by the Vatican has offered to receive Charlie Gard -- an infant boy suffering from rare mitochondrial diseases that have damaged his brain. Mariella Enoc, President of the Vatican-owned Bambino Jesus (‘Infant Jesus’) pediatric hospital in Rome, said the hospital can take in the baby boy if his parents are willing. However, a ruling by a court in England -- where Charlie is now hospitalized -- has ruled that the hospital where is currently may proceed to terminate his care. In addition, the court will not release him to his parents, who want to seek experimental treatment for him in the US.
In a July 3 tweet, Enoc quoted Pope Francis, who tweeted earlier: “Defend human life, especially when it is wounded by sickness, is a commitment of love that God entrusts to every man.”
Enoc wrote: “The Holy Father’s words, regarding little Charlie, summarize well the mission of the Bambino Gesu hospital. That is why I asked the Health Director to verify with London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital, where the newborn is hospitalized, if the health conditions exist for Charlie’s eventual transfer to our hospital. We know that the case is desperate and that, apparently, effective therapies do not exist.”
Enoc spoke of her hospital’s solidarity with Charlie’s parents: “We are close to the parents through prayer and, if they so desire, we are ready to receive their child in our hospital for the time that remains to him to live.”
On June 2, Pope Francis addressed Gard’s parents through his spokesman Greg Burke: “The Holy Father follows with affection and emotion the affair of little Charlie Gard and expresses his closeness to his parents.” According to Burke, Pope Francis said, “Prays for them hoping that their desire to accompany and care for their child to the end is not disregarded.”
Charlie Gard was born on August 4, 2016. The mitochondrial diseases from which he suffers gives him epileptic seizure, paralysis, among other conditions.
On June 27, the European Court of Human Rights denied an appeal Charlie’s parents made to authorize seeking experimental treatment in the United States. Earlier, British Supreme Court ruled in favor of euthanasia through the cessation of respiratory assistance, hydration, and nutrition.