The parents of Charlie Gard, the 11-month-old terminally ill baby at the centre of a legal row over whether his life support should be switched off, have ended their long campaign take him to the United States for experimental treatment.
Connie Yates and Chris Gard had fought against a decision by Great Ormond Street Hospital in London to turn off the life support machine keeping Charlie alive. However, they now accept that further intervention will not help him.
According to reporters who were in court on Monday, Yates told the hearing that her son's illness had "deteriorated to the point of no return". However she said he was not "braindead" and that the suggested treatment would have improved his quality of life.
She left the court in tears, after saying her son now wouldn't reach his first birthday.
The couple's barrister Grant Armstrong told the court "time has now ran out for Charlie" and that the family is now withdrawing their challenge.
He said the couple now plan to establish a foundation in their son's name.
In a pre-prepared statement delivered to the world's media after the hearing, Chris Gard said that in the coming days his son's life support would be turned off.
"This is one of the hardest things that we will ever have to say and one of the hardest things they we will ever have to do, which is to let our beautiful little Charlie go." he said.
"Put simply, this is about a sweet, gorgeous, innocent little boy who was born with a rare disease who had real a genuine chance at life and a family who loved him so very dearly and that’s why we fought so hard for him."
But he said that if treatment had been offered to his son earlier on, there was a chance he could have been saved"
"But there is one simple reason that treatment now can’t go ahead and that is time. A whole lot of time has been wasted. We are now in July and our poor boy has been left to just lie in hospital for months without any treatment whilst lengthy court battles have been fought.
"Tragically, having had Charlie’s medical notes reviewed by independent experts, we now know that had Charlie had the treatment sooner he would have had the potential to be a normal, healthy little boy...
"We knew that ourselves because as his parents we knew our son which is why we continued on fighting. Charlie’s been left for his illness to deteriorate to the point of no return."
The couple took the the case to the Court of Appeal and the UK's Supreme Court, where their application that he should be allowed to travel to the US was dismissed. The European Court of Human Rights refused to intervene.
Charlie suffers from a rare form of mitochondrial disease, which causes muscle weakness and irreversible brain damage. He cannot breathe, swallow, or move unaided.
An American neurologist who visited him in hospital and had offered to provide experimental treatment in New York said that such intervention had only a 10% chance of improving his health. The couple had raised more than £1.3 million to pay for the trip.
US president Donald Trump and the Pope have both publicly supported the parents' case and called for more to be done to prolong the boy's life.
The Gard case attracted vocal supporters who backed the family's case online through social media and in person outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London, where case was heard.
Using the hashtag #CharliesArmy, the supporters have argued that Gard should have been treated in another hospital.
Emotions ran high throughout the various hearings related to Gard's treatment. On Saturday it emerged that staff at Great Ormond Street Hospital had received death threats.
On Monday, supporters of the family chanted "Shame on you judge" and "shame on GOSH".
Patrick Smith is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Patrick Smith at email@example.com.
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