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Charlie Gard unlikely to be allowed to spend final days at home, judge says

Charlie’s parents are embroiled in a fight with doctors over the circumstances of the terminally-ill baby’s death.

Terminally-ill baby Charlie Gard is unlikely to be allowed to spend his final days at home with his parents, a High Court judge has said.

Mr Justice Francis said he will make a decision about where the 11-month-old boy should spend the remainder of his life, on Wednesday.

Doctors caring for Charlie at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London said they want to fulfil the “last desire” of his parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates.

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Chris Gard and Connie Yates with their son in hospital (Family handout/PA)

But they said there are practical difficulties in providing the intensive care Charlie needs outside a hospital, and the judge said the chances of him being able to spend his final days at home are “small”.

Charlie’s parents have become embroiled in a fight with doctors over the circumstances of his death, a day after abandoning attempts to persuade a judge to let him travel to America for experimental treatment.

Mr Justice Francis presided over the dispute at a hearing in the Family Division of the High Court in London on Tuesday, and the hearing is scheduled to resume at 2pm on Wednesday.

The judge said the dispute cried out for settlement.

But he said if a solution could not be agreed he would decide on Wednesday.

Barrister Grant Armstrong, who leads the couple’s legal team, suggested to Mr Justice Francis that hospital bosses were placing obstacles in Charlie’s parents’ way.

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Connie Yates, mother of Charlie, at the Royal Court of Justice (Frank Augstein/AP)

“The parents wish for a few days of tranquillity outside of a hospital setting,” Mr Armstrong said.

“The parents had hoped that Great Ormond Street would work with them.”

He added: ”The parents’ primary position is that Charlie’s final days of palliative care … should take place at the family home.”

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Lawyers for Great Ormond Street hospital say there are practical problems with moving Charlie (John Stillwell/PA)

Mr Armstrong said Great Ormond Street doctors thought that moving Charlie to a hospice was the best plan.

But he said the couple felt there was a “brutality” to taking Charlie to a hospice.

He told the judge: “We struggle with the difficulties which the hospital is placing in the way.”

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