By Sam Loose | UNITED KINGDOM
Charlie Gard a seven month-year-old British toddler has recently made headlines in his fight against mitochondrial depletion syndrome, a rare and incurable mitochondrial disease. Unfortunately for both Charlie and his parents, the high courts in the United Kingdom have ruled that Charlie has no right to treatment, none the less his parents have not given up and will not until Charlie be allowed to be transported to the United States for treatment.
Born on the fourth of August, 2016, Charlie was a happy and healthy child living out the first weeks of his life at home. But as time passed Charlie’s health slowly deteriorated, at eight weeks Charlie’s parents decided to admit him to the hospital. Once admitted to the hospital, Chris Gard and Connie Yates were given news no parent should hear, their son has been diagnosed with an incurable terminal illness. Charlie was diagnosed with, encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome (MDDS), a mitochondrial disease that prevents organs from receiving proper amounts of energy, causing them to shut down.
But Charlie’s parents weren’t willing to let Charlie just die of this disease, instead, they began to look for help. Speaking to several doctors around the globe they were able to find treatments that could save Charlie’s life, both an oral medication that could help restore Charlie, and a doctor in the United States who specializes in treating pediatric mitochondrial disorders. However, as a side effect of admitting their son to the hospital, Chris and Connie lost all parental rights to their son. The doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital see the case a bit differently from Charlie’s parent, the doctors believe that Charlie has irreversible brain damage and that no treatment will save him.
Under the impression that Charlie can not be saved the Doctors of Great Ormond Street Hospital took the case to the court requesting the right to refuse care and disconnect Charlie from his life support. Unfortunately, the court ruled in the hospital’s favor, the judge explaining he “made the decision with the heaviest of hearts” and that it “was in Charlies best interests” citing “he should be able to die with dignity.” But the parents who have each spent an upwards of three thousand hours at Charlie’s bedside, do not believe that the court’s decision was fair. The legal battle for Charlies right to live and be moved to another hospital continues, however, its mot going as well as they hope, with even European Court of Human Rights refusing to intervene.
But all hope is not lost, Pope Francis and President Donald J Trump have both expressed a willingness to do whatever possible to help, the parents have received over 1.2 million dollars, and after delivering a petition with over three hundred fifty thousand signatures, the Great Ormond Street Hospital has applied for a fresh hearing with regards to allowing Charlie Treatment.
But as a pro-life libertarian, I can not help but be angered by this situation, I believe that all life is sacred and that if Charlie is to “die with dignity” he should die fighting, not because the state forced him to. I’m not only against nationalization of healthcare for economic reasons but also because of situations like these because the state, none the less a state where the people are forced to pay for and maintain a public healthcare system, should be able to force a patient to die against their wishes and the wishes of their parents.