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Mum of Charlie Gard to be present as specialists decide ill baby's fate

By Brian Farmer

The mother of terminally ill baby Charlie Gard is preparing for a meeting that could decide the little boy's future.

Connie Yates is due to attend a meeting of specialists which has been organised as part of the latest stage of a court fight over whether Charlie should be given experimental treatment in America.

Medical experts are scheduled to gather today at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, where 11-month-old Charlie is being cared for.

An American neurosurgeon who offered to treat Charlie is due to be among specialists gathering at the hospital.

Michio Hirano, a professor of neurology at the Columbia University Medical Centre in New York, is scheduled to examine Charlie for the first time before discussing his condition with Great Ormond Street doctors and other medical experts.

A judge overseeing the latest stage of litigation has agreed that Ms Yates can be present when experts meet to discuss Charlie's condition.

Ms Yates and Charlie's father, Chris Gard, want Mr Justice Francis to rule that Charlie, who suffers from a rare genetic condition and has brain damage, should be allowed to undergo a therapy trial overseen by Dr Hirano in New York.

Specialists at Great Ormond Street say that the therapy is experimental and will not help Charlie.

They say life support treatment should stop.

Charlie's parents, who are in their 30s and come from Bedfont, west London, have already lost battles in the High Court, Court of Appeal and Supreme Court in London.

They have also failed to persuade European Court of Human Rights judges to intervene.

But the couple say there is new evidence and want Mr Justice Francis to carry out a fresh analysis of their case.

In April the judge ruled in favour of Great Ormond Street and said Charlie should be allowed to die with dignity.

Mr Justice Francis has considered the couple's latest claims at preliminary hearings in the Family Division of the High Court in London over the last few days.

He is due to stage further hearings later this month following the talks being held by specialists.

Charlie, who is 11 months old, has infantile onset encephalomyopathic mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome.

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