Charlie Gard’s Parents Advocating for Medical Mediation Law
Charlie Gard’s parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, have been focused on establishing a law that would protect children that experience a similar fate as their own son.
“Charlie’s Law” would prevent many of the ethical problems faced by Charlie’s parents, and his parents have worked with doctors, politicians, and ethicists on how this can be done. There are also a number of pediatricians who have come out following the events related to Charlie’s situation and expressed their concern over how high-profile cases will affect doctors and their choices when treating patients.
Charlie was taken to the hospital by his parents when he was about eight weeks old because he did not seem to be as strong as other babies his age. Doctors determined Charlie had mitochondrial depletion syndrome which causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage. The team at the hospital where Charlie was admitted said there was no cure or way to treat the disease, but are experimental therapies in the United States.
Charlie’s parents wanted to transport him to the United States, but the hospital and local government forced Charlie’s family into the court system. Under the current law, judges must assess the best interest of the child. Under the proposed Charlie’s law, judges would instead ask if the parents’ wishes would cause significant harm to the child and if not, the family would be free to do as they choose. Instead of litigation, families and other people involved would use a mediation process that would move things along in a timelier manner, keep the issue private, and allow the sensitive matter to be dealt with outside of the courtroom.