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Agony for Charlie Gard's parents as they lose final appeal

By Cathy Gordon

A couple who want to take their terminally ill baby son to the United States for treatment have lost a fight in the European Court of Human Rights after exhausting all legal options in the UK.

Chris Gard and Connie Yates, who are in their 30s and come from Bedfont, west London, wanted 10-month-old Charlie Gard, who suffers from a rare genetic condition and has brain damage, to undergo a therapy trial in the US.

Specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where Charlie is being cared for, said therapy proposed by a doctor in the US was experimental and would not help.

They said life-support treatment should stop.

Charlie's parents had asked European court judges in Strasbourg, France, to consider their claims after judges in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in London ruled in favour of Great Ormond Street doctors.

But Strasbourg judges yesterday refused to intervene.

A Great Ormond Street spokeswoman said the European Court decision marked "the end" of a "difficult process".

Ms Yates, who had screamed when Supreme Court justices dismissed an appeal earlier this month, told Sky News the European court ruling was "upsetting".

The Great Ormond Street spokeswoman said there would be "no rush" to change Charlie's care. She said there would be "careful planning and discussion".

"Our thoughts are with Charlie's parents on receipt of this news that we know will be very distressing for them," said the Great Ormond Street spokeswoman.

"Today's decision by the European Court of Human Rights marks the end of what has been a very difficult process and our priority is to provide every possible support to Charlie's parents as we prepare for the next steps."

She added: "There will be no rush by Great Ormond Street Hospital to change Charlie's care and any future treatment plans will involve careful planning and discussion."

European court judges announced their decision in a statement after analysing written arguments from lawyers representing Charlie's parents. A spokeswoman said the European judges had "endorsed in substance" the approach of UK judges. She said the UK legal framework was compatible with European human rights legislation.

Lawyers representing Charlie's parents had argued that the couple's human rights and Charlie's human rights were being undermined.

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