Tragic Charlie Gard

The news has just emerged that Charlie Gard’s parents have given up their legal fight to take Charlie to the United States for experimental treatment. This was a fight underpinned by love, hope and courage and with a very sad ending.

The case was fraught with uncertainty and sadly, the healthcare team and Charlie’s parents were unable to agree what was best for Charlie. The fact that the case went to court a number of times to consider new evidence suggests the complexity of the case and the need for a dispassionate approach.

The core of care ethics is ‘cure sometimes, treat often, care always and abandon never’. It is tragic that a cure for Charlie was not possible but we can and should be assured that Charlie and his parents will have the support and care they need. Charlie can now receive the end of life care necessary for him to have a peaceful death.

Crucially, no one should be or feel abandoned – not Charlie, not his parents, not the health care team. All day, every day our wonderful NHS provides care to children and families and whilst they may not always be able to cure, they can and do care and never abandon.

Professor Ann Gallagher
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