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Alban Maginness only added to misinformation surrounding the heartbreaking Charlie Gard case

 

Before he commented on the Charlie Gard case, it would have been reasonable to expect Alban Maginness (Comment, August 2) to have read the evidence given in court by the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust.

He suggests that if the US specialist "had been allowed to intervene earlier, maybe he would have had a proper opportunity to apply the experimental treatment with greater effect".

In fact, as the trust's evidence stated, Charlie's medical team offered Prof Hirano the chance to see him in January - an offer not taken up until July.

Mr Maginness goes on to argue the decisions of the various courts to deny Charlie's parents the opportunity to take him to the USA for experimental treatment were based on previous medical and legal decisions that should have been overridden as the baby was going to die without such care and nothing would have been lost by trying.

This view contrasts sharply with the findings of the High Court in April that:

(a) Charlie had already suffered structural brain damage, almost entirely irreversible;

(b) it was not certain whether Charlie was suffering pain, but it was likely he was and at more than a low level;

(c) the clinician in the US who was offering the treatment favoured by the parents conceded that the chances of it securing meaningful brain recovery were vanishingly small; and

(d) the proposed treatment would not only be futile, but might well cause pain, suffering and distress to Charlie.

Even the independent medical expert instructed by Charlie's parents agreed that "the treatment proposed by the parents to be given to Charlie in the US would be of no effective benefit to him".

Given the threats and harassment directed at NHS staff as a result of this case, I find it disappointing that an experienced public figure and trained lawyer like Alban Maginness should contribute to the confusion and misinformation that has so characterised this tragic case.

ALAN MURRAY

Broughshane, Co Antrim

Belfast Telegraph

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