Charlie Gard will spend his final hours in a hospice, a High Court judge ruled on Thursday. The terminally ill baby boy will be moved from Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where he has been receiving treatment, to a hospice. His life support will be withdrawn soon after, meaning Charlie will "inevitably" die within a short time, the court heard. Mr Justice France made the order on Thursday afternoon, a few hours after the deadline passed for Charlie's end-of-life plan. He added that no details about when he would be moved and where could be made public.
The baby's parents Chris Gard and Connie Yates were hoping to bring their son home, but GOSH said that moving Charlie and his life-support equipment would not be practical. They suggested taking Charlie to a hospice, which Chris and Connie eventually agreed to. However, the parents were hoping to spend days with their son, who turns one next week, at the hospice – and not hours. They had found a medical team who were willing to care for Charlie at the hospice, some of whom included nurses at GOSH. But the central London hospital said it was not in the baby's interests to spend a long period of time in a hospice.
Earlier this week, the Gard family released a heartbreaking statement, apologising to their terminally ill son, who suffers from mitochondrial depletion syndrome. The rare genetic condition causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage. Chris read the statement, saying: "This is one of the hardest things that we will ever have to say and we are about to do the hardest thing that we'll ever have to do, which is to let our beautiful little Charlie go. As Charlie's devoted and loving parents, we've decided that it is no longer in Charlie's best interest to pursue treatment and we will let our son go and be with the angels."
Chris and Connie will say goodbye to their baby in a hospice
Chris concluded by saying: "We are now going to spend our last precious moments with our son Charlie who unfortunately won't make his first birthday in just under two weeks' time. And we will ask that our privacy is respected during this very difficult time. To Charlie we say mummy and daddy, we love you so much. We always have and we always will and we are so sorry we couldn't save you. Sweet dreams baby, sleep tight our beautiful little boy. We love you."