Charlie Gard: Boris Johnson says baby cannot be moved to Vatican

Charlie Gard Image copyright PA

It is impossible for terminally ill Charlie Gard to be transferred to the Vatican’s children’s hospital for treatment, Boris Johnson has said.

The foreign secretary told Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano legal reasons prevented him from being moved.

The president of the Bambino Gesu hospital in Rome had asked British doctors if 10 month old Charlie could be transferred to his care.

It comes after the Pope tweeted his support for Charlie on Monday.

Charlie has been receiving specialist treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital since October 2016.

Mr Johnson has told his Italian counterpart that it is “right that decisions continued to be led by expert medical opinion, supported by the courts” in line with Charlie’s “best interests.”

The hospital said Charlie cannot see, hear, move, cry or swallow and should be allowed to die with dignity.

During Wednesday’s PMQ’s Theresa May said she was “confident” that Great Ormond Street Hospital “have and always will consider any offers or new information that has come forward with consideration of the well-being of a desperately ill child” in response to a Commons question about Charlie’s case.

Image copyright PA

Charlie’s parents raised £1.3m on a crowdfunding site to pay for the experimental treatment in the US.

But they lost a legal battle with the hospital last month with judges at the European Court of Human Rights concluding further treatment would “continue to cause Charlie significant harm”.

The Vatican’s paediatric hospital stepped in after Pope Francis called for Charlie’s parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates, to be allowed to “accompany and treat their child until the end”.

The Vatican hospital’s president Mariella Enoc said: “I was contacted by the mother, who is a very determined and decisive person and doesn’t want to be stopped by anything.”

Lord Winston told ITV’s Good Morning Britain courts and doctors should not be interfering with the parents’ wishes, saying the loss of a child was “about the worst injury that any person can have”.

But he added: “These interferences from the Vatican and from Donald Trump seem to me to be extremely unhelpful and very cruel, actually, because this child has been dealt with at a hospital which has huge expertise in mitochondrial disease and is being offered a break in a hospital that has never published anything on this disease, as far as I’m aware.”

Image copyright Franco Origlia

The Vatican said the Pope was following the case “with affection and sadness”.

In a statement the Vatican said the Pope “expresses his closeness to his [Charlie’s] parents”.

“For them he prays, hoping that their desire to accompany and care for their own child to the end is not ignored,” it said.

US President Donald Trump also tweeted about Charlie on Monday, writing: “If we can help little #CharlieGard, as per our friends in the UK and the Pope, we would be delighted to do so.”

Charlie’s parents Connie Yates and Chris Gard from Bedfont, west London, have spent the last days of their son’s life with him, after being given more time before his life-support is turned off.

On Thursday they said the hospital had denied their final wish to be able to take their son home to die, and felt “let down”.

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