Chris Gard and Connie Yates have made a heartbreaking appearance on national TV to explain why they'll keep fighting for their son's life. The couple are parents to eight-month-old baby Charlie, who suffers from mitochondrial depletion syndrome, a rare genetic condition that causes progressive muscle weakness and brain damage. Doctors at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital have advised it is in Charlie's best interests to stop providing life support and instead move him to a palliative care regime, but his parents disagreed.
During an appearance on This Morning on Tuesday, Chris and Connie spoke to presenters Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford about their court case. The couple are going to try and appeal the court's decision to withdraw Charlie's life support, so that they can bring Charlie to the US for a treatment trial. "We were told that we could go and he hasn't deteriorated in that time so it is very, very hard for us to get our head around," said Connie. "It seems like they're making him out to be a lot worse than he actually is. We sit with him day in day out, we know he's not in pain and he's not suffering. He just needs the treatment that's going to potentially help him. There's no guarantee it would work but theoretically it should help."
Connie Yates and Charlie Gard spoke on This Morning
Chris added: "Everyone's so negative saying he won't have a quality of life. It could perform wonders. Every child with a similar gene who is on this medication – I believe there is 18 around the world – they are all still alive, and they are all still getting stronger. I don't see how we can know this and then just go 'Do you know what, no just let him go'. They're all alive, they're all getting stronger. Charlie deserves that chance."
While doctors have argued it would be fairer to withdraw life support, Connie argued: "All we're asking is for two months to try this medication. We've been here for months trying to get this anyway and he hasn't deteriorated in that time. And we will know if it works or not in that time."
Chris reasoned that baby Charlie has been on a ventilator for four months, and in that time they could have tried the treatment. "It's not a harmful medicine, it hasn't got side effects," he said. "Either it won't work or it starts to work, it's not like three months where he's going to really suffer and at the end of it there may be some light at the end of the tunnel, it's three months and we'll know at the end of it if it works."
The couple concluded the interview by insisting that they don't want to turn off Charlie's life support. "Not when he's so stable," said Chris. "If he was lying there and you could tell he was in pain and he had lines coming out of everywhere, he's not got one IV line."