Belfast Telegraph

Home Opinion Letters

Letting go of a child is hardest decision of all

Alban Maginness (Comment, August 2) has now, it seems, joined the list of other "distinguished medics" (Donald Trump, Boris Johnson, as well as a large group of ill-informed politicians, religious leaders and general public) in believing that he, too, knows how to best treat a child with Mitochondrial DNA Depletion Syndrome.

As a qualified barrister, Alban's conclusion - that the judges were wrong to be guided in their decision-making by the medical team treating Charlie Gard, rather than those with either no medical knowledge, or a vested interest in prolonging his treatment - is alarming.

Alban lists just some of the ways this syndrome affected Charlie - brain seizures, deafness, blindness, paralysis, inability to breathe unaided - yet failed to conclude that these, therefore, rendered him incapable of living any sort of normal life as we know it, and that prolonging his life simply because his parents, in their despair, sought it, was not in Charlie's best interests.

When Jesus declared that he came that "they may have life and have it to the full" (John 10:10), I hope he had something better in mind than this.

Moreover, Alban's conclusion that Charlie's parents are "a great role model to all parents and to all society in respect to the value of human life" is insulting to those parents who have recognised the point where "enough is enough" in the suffering of their child and had the courage to accept the medical prognosis and let go, recognising that no medical expert wantonly seeks the death of a child in their care. Neither Charlie's parents, other parents of terminally ill children, nor the medical team treating Charlie, were served well by the ongoing soap opera frenzy created by sections of the media and those, including Alban, who should have known better.

The road ahead will be a difficult one for Charlie's parents, and we can only hope that they receive the support and comfort they will undoubtedly need, especially from other bereaved parents, who are further down that road and who have maybe learned, as the poet Cecil Day Lewis so beautifully claimed, "Love is proved in the letting go".

grace campbell

Belfast

Belfast Telegraph Digital

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph